Going Beyond Hear, Hear

Publicis Pushes Cell One From Clarity to Popularity
DALLAS–Wireless communications pro-vider Cellular One sets aside its traditional clarity positioning for a populist anthem in new television advertising from Publicis here.
The commercials will be placed in “low-level” spot cable buys over the next two months before breaking out into network slots during the March telecasts of the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament, according to Publicis senior principal Brice Campbell. Cellular One spends about $5-10 million annually in national brand advertising, according to sources.
Three 30-second spots, created by agency writer Mike Fiddleman and art director Manuel Moreno, debut this week. The ads spoof dated modes of communication by people who end up touting how they would prefer using a cell phone.
One spot features a conversation involving smoke signals. “Greetings, old friend. Storm’s coming in two, maybe three days,” declares one, according to on-screen subtitles. “Dude, it’s 1999 already. When are you getting a cell phone?” is the reply.
Another execution has an Eastern mystic on a mountaintop providing his wisdom of the ages to a far-away pupil via mental telepathy. The student shoots back a silent, transcendental message to his sage: “Wouldn’t this be easier with cell phones?”
“Cellular One was one of the first to bring you a cell phone. We’ll be the first to bring it to everyone,” a narrator intones in each spot’s conclusion. The client retains its long-running “Clear across America” tag.
“It’s definitely different for the category,” said Publicis co-chairman Seth Werner. “It’s very crowded, everybody’s talking rates and deals, so we thought we needed to break out of that.” Werner said no additional spots are planned for the campaign.
The client only utilizes television advertising for national branding. Local affiliates of Cellular One handle rate and product marketing ads individually.