FCB Lets ‘Freedom’ Ring Again

AT&T Wireless Spots Urge Customers to Rely on Their Cell Phones
SAN FRANCISCO–Foote, Cone & Belding is launching phase two of its “Freedom” campaign for AT&T Wireless Services with three just-completed TV spots that will roll nationally by Feb. 1.
Backed by a 1999 advertising budget of $120-140 million, the 30-second ads play up the idea that with AT&T’s digital one-rate plan, a wireless phone can be a customer’s only phone.
One of FCB’s latest ads opens with a female voiceover explaining how with AT&T’s plan, her wireless phone is more than “just any phone.” As a snowboarder soars across the screen, the woman says, “It’s my ‘Hey Rob, how’s the powder in Utah?’ phone.” When a young boy kicks a soccer ball, the voiceover says, “It’s my ‘Casey scored a goal!’ phone.”
It ends with the AT&T logo and a male voiceover: “The world of wireless has changed. So now, AT&T can make your wireless phone your only phone.”
The remaining spots stress the plan’s flexibility for travelers. All reprise the image of a red, white and blue wireless phone.
The spots follow last June’s introduction of the plan, which offers flat rates as low as 10 cents a minute, and includes long distance and roaming charges [Adweek, June 1, 1998]. The effort also 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.
AT&T’s emphasis on “freedom” is a marketing approach that differs from some of its closest competitors. Sprint PCS touts the clarity of its service with a campaign from Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco. And although AirTouch Communications used the tag, “It could change your life” for its wireless service, the phrase–developed by prior shop TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif.–was meant to underscore its affordability and reliability.
AT&T Wireless in Kirkland, Wash., spent $122 million on ads last year. Sprint PCS spent $23 million in the first eight months of 1998, per Competitive Media Reporting.
Client officials were unavailable for comment.