Carat Interactive Pushes Telecom Alternative

NEW YORK Carat Interactive has launched a campaign for broadband phone company Vonage to promote its digital calling plans.

The effort aims to position Vonage as a viable alternative to consumers’ costly and complicated home phone service. The Edison, N.J.-based company offers phone services directly to cable and DSL high-speed modem subscribers.

“Vonage is a fast-moving startup and they have aggressive goals for customer acquisition and that’s why we’re here for them,” said Carat Interactive account director Judy Gern.

Large rich media ad units including leaderboards, targeted messaging units and skyscrapers running on properties like Yahoo, CNET, UGO and MSN will emphasize Vonage’s unlimited national and local packages and free features, such as voicemail and call waiting.

Some ads focus on the savings and control consumers can gain over their phone bills, and carry headlines like “Down with unpredictable phone bills” and “Hang up on high phone bills.”

Others leverage what the press is saying about Vonage to establish credibility for the relatively unknown company. One ad, for instance, carries a quote from Slate: “Bon Vonage, baby bells. A new Internet service means you don’t need the phone company anymore.”

The campaign primarily targets tech enthusiasts. Over the next month, Carat Interactive will roll out ads that reach out to international users and people who are moving.

Vonage’s main competitors include the traditional telecoms that offer unlimited local and long-distance packages, like MCI and Verizon Communications, Gern said.

Carat Interactive won the interactive creative and media account in mid-December following a review of undisclosed agencies. Account management and media duties are performed at the i-shop’s Boston headquarters, while creative work is produced at the San Francisco office.