Covad’s ‘Anthem’ Salutes Small Businesses

SAN FRANCISCO The superheroes of small business are the focus of broadband Internet provider Covad Communications’ latest advertising campaign.

The campaign introduces “Broadband makes small business better” as the tagline. Using absurd visuals like a four-armed businessman, a one-eyed auto mechanic and a big-brained architect, the 60-second TV commercial aims to convey that small businesses have to work harder, faster and more efficiently. The point: Covad can tailor its broadband service to meet the varied and demanding needs of small businesses.

“We wanted to show that small businesses are all different. And small business owners feel like they are wearing lots of hats—they might be in a high-level conference one minute, and the next they’re licking stamps,” said Fernando Arriola, vice president and media director of Gee Jeffrey & Partners in San Francisco. “This spot kind of takes that to the next level and dramatically exaggerates the situation.”

The 60-second television spot and two 30-second versions are the first to come out of Gee Jeffrey & Partners’ new San Francisco outpost. The commercial is called “Anthem.” “It’s a metaphor for the diverse demands of small businesses,” said Eric Thompson, vice president and account director at the agency. “We treat these guys as heroes in the way they adapt to meet those new demands.”

The spots are running on cable news programs including CNN Headline News, Fox News, CNBC, ESPN News Channel and Business Week TV. “We found those are the shows small business people are watching during the day,” said Pat Bennett, executive vice president and general manager of Covad’s broadband solutions. “We wanted to do something that would really cut through and catch people’s attention.”

At the end of the month, a radio campaign will begin airing in Chicago, New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, along with an online effort.

Campaign spending was not disclosed, although last year when Gee Jeffrey & Partners won the Covad business, it was estimated as a $25 million account. Covad had just under $10 million in media expenditures in 2002, according to CMR.

Covad has nearly 400,000 home and small business customers, according to its latest financial statements.