FCB Lets ‘Freedom’ Ring

AT&T Wireless Backing Ads With $120-140 Million
By Jane Irene Kelly
SAN FRANCISCO–Foote, Cone & Belding on Feb. 1 launches phase two of its “Freedom” campaign for AT&T Wireless Services with three just-completed TV spots.
Backed by a 1999 ad budget of $120-140 million, the new 30-second installments play up the idea that with AT&T’s digital one-rate plan, a wireless phone can be a customer’s only phone.
The spots follow last June’s debut of the plan, which offers low flat rates and includes long distance and roaming charges. The effort includes print, radio and outdoor ads.
“The digital one-rate plan has turned the industry on its ear,” said Greg Sieck, vice president and group management supervisor at FCB here.
One new ad opens with a female voiceover explaining how her AT&T wireless is more than “just any phone.” As a snowboarder soars by, she says, “It’s my ‘Hey Rob, how’s the powder in Utah?’ phone.” The spot ends with AT&T’s logo and a male voiceover: “The world of wireless has changed. So now, AT&T can make your wireless phone your only phone.”
The other spots stress the plan’s flexibility for travelers. All reprise the image of a red, white and blue wireless phone.
AT&T’s emphasis on “freedom” is an approach that differs from its closest rivals. Sprint PCS touts clarity via ads from Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco. And AirTouch Communications’ “It could change your life” tag–from previous agency TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif.–was meant to underscore affordability and reliability.
AT&T Wireless in Kirkland, Wash., spent $122 million on ads last year, per Competitive Media Reporting.