Johnson Group Lets Cricket’s Couch Do the Talking

Cricket Communications’ bright green couch continues to star in the latest ad campaign from The Johnson Group. This time, however, the sofa gets the best lines.

“For more than three years our Cricket customers have been doing all the talking,” said Harvey White, chairman and chief executive officer for parent company Leap Wireless International. “We decided it was time to let the Cricket couch join the conversation.”

Five television spots break this week on cable channels including VH1 and MTV in Cricket’s 40 primarily small and midsize markets across the country, including Memphis, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; Tulsa, Okla.; Denver; and Pittsburgh. Radio, outdoor and newspaper ads promote retail sales events.

Targeting young couples, the spots feature the green divan chatting up two single guys waiting in a movie line. At a neighborhood playground, it offers budget tips to the parents of twins. The male voiceover also takes the spotlight as the lead singer at a rock concert.

“What began as a symbol has become an icon. Now it’s an evangelist,” said Chris Mumford, account director at the Chattanooga, Tenn., agency.

Rather than compete with larger wireless services like Verizon and Cingular, Cricket, which ranks 10th in the U.S. with1.3 million subscribers, promotes itself as a replacement for home telephones that offers unlimited local calls.

“It’s an innovative product inan industry that doesn’t have much innovation,” said Mumford.

Leap Wireless, headquartered in San Diego, is also unveiling its first Spanish-language advertising campaign in key markets in California and the Southwest. New work features the tagline, “Habla libremente” (“Speak freely”).

The Cartel Group in San Antonio created the Hispanic advertising.