Centennial Wireless Promotes Local Calling Plans

Centennial Wireless suggests that most of its customers don’t need nationwide calling plans in a holiday television campaign from CVR/MARC.

The first of three spots from the Indianapolis shop broke yesterday in the Fort Wayne, Ind.-based client’s markets in Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Texas.

Two of the ads feature Santa Claus touting the benefits of a Centennial Wireless phone. In one, Santa meets with a Centennial employee. “So you have friends and family all over the country, but you only leave your hometown once a year,” the worker says, advising him that he does not need a nationwide calling plan.

In concentrating on the use of the phones for local calls, the spots push a message that Centennial is more personal than its competitors, which include Sprint, Verizon and Voicestream, said Bryan Hadlock, the shop’s creative director.

Less than 3 percent of the min utes used by Centennial customers are for calls outside the user’s home area, said Laura Hughes, client vp of domes tic marketing. Centennial offers nationwide service, she said.

The campaign is a departure from past holiday work, which took a more straightforward, promotional approach, Hughes said.

This year’s campaign continues the “Relax, you’re with friends” tagline that CVR/MARC introduced two years ago.

“These spots are the product of trust building with the client over two years,” said senior writer Ben Seal. “That allowed us to use humor and the type of work that you can’t always do with a cli ent.”

The spots were shot in Toronto and directed by David Popescu of Sparks Production in that city.

Spending for the campaign was not disclosed. CVR/MARC won the account, then estimated at $15-20 million, in April 2001, following a review.