Jabra Hitches Ad to New Laws

New laws designed to stop people from driving with one hand on the wheel and one on the phone may be a boon for companies selling hands-free equipment.

Jabra of San Diego isn’t wasting time taking advantage—and isn’t pulling punches with its marketing.

A new print ad created by local ad agency Matthews/Mark suggests Jabra’s line of phone accessories suddenly has a new selling point. The ad, set to break in September in major magazines, features a muscular police officer whose hands are bound in front using the wire from a Jabra product. Copy below his clenched fists reads: “The hands-free Jabra EarSet vs. the hands-free mobile phone driving law.”

Spending was not disclosed.

Agency president and creative director Michael Mark said the ad lets mobile-phone users know that Jabra’s products can restrain cops from writing tickets. The ad is timed to break before new laws take effect in New York state on Nov 1.

“The point is if you don’t want to get a ticket, use one of Jabra’s products,” said Mark, whose agency has had the account for about a year. “There has been so much press about the new laws that people know. When you think about it, you can’t argue with the point we’re making.”

Mark said there was some concern that the image may be disparaging to people in law enforcement. It was initially rejected by one major magazine, he said, but was ultimately accepted. “Sports Illustrated said it was too controversial, but we talked about it with them and they could see what we were trying to do.”

In an effort to make the image more generic, Mark said, the agency cropped the photo at the shoulders so the officer’s face would not be visible and also used a uniform that is not identifiable.

Jabra vp of marketing Jennifer Cauble said it is a simple but powerful ad that can stand out in a crowded field.

“The message is: Jabra helps you comply with the law,” she said. “Having the cop’s hands tied really gets your attention.”