Powertel Promotes Service

M/W’s Debut Ads Position Cellular Co. Against Larger Players
CHICAGO–Martin/Williams touts the service offered by cellular company Powertel in its first campaign since winning the $30 million account last year.
The print and televison campaign, which breaks Tuesday in Powertel’s Southeast U.S. service area, employs the tagline “We’re on that,” which is intended to highlight the company’s service ethic and distinguish the regional company from well-known national players, said Mike Gray, director of business development at the Minneapolis agency.
“In the whole wireless arena, it’s tough to out high-tech a national brand,” said Gray. “In the research we did, we saw there was an opportunity to highlight the service aspects of the company.”
The campaign moves away from Powertel’s previous, more promotion-driven advertising by creating a fictional Powertel employee who goes to great lengths to demonstrate how the West Point, Ga., company addresses customers’ needs, Gray said.
“Each commercial has a specific value point about the brand instead of an offer,” Gray said.
In one TV spot, after a customer suggests a no-roaming policy for his cell-phone company, the worker takes the customer to the zoo and frees the animals. “All living things should roam free,” the Powertel character says.
In another spot, the character steps back and forth over an area code boundary to tout the company’s free long-distance service.
“People need to know that Powertel is approachable,” said Mike Bashaw, Powertel’s vice president of marketing and product development. “Humor is an excellent way to communicate.”
Powertel’s print and radio ads will be more price-point and promotion-driven. Powertel spent nearly $17 million on advertising through the first 11 months of last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. M/W won the account in October after a review. K