Qwest ‘Rides The Light’

The Focus Agency here takes a sometimes over-the-top approach to promoting long-distance service in its first campaign for Qwest Communications of Denver.
The initiative, supported by an estimated $25 million budget, breaks today in unspecified major markets and will expand throughout the year.
The two-pronged campaign features four 30-second television commercials, with supporting radio and print ads.
One set of ads strikes a familiar tone, explaining how Qwest created a new fiber optic network to compete with the “Big Three long-distance companies.” In the ads, a white light zooms along railroad tracks where much of Qwest’s 13,000-mile fiber optic network is laid. A voiceover pledges that Qwest will beat the pricing of the major carriers forever.
The advertising campaign employs the tagline, “Ride the light.”
Two other spots take a different tack, focusing on “Bob,” an employee of a “major long-distance company.” In one ad, Bob threatens to jump off the roof of a building. When police and bystanders learn his occupation, they encourage him to leap.
A follow-up spot features Bob in a hospital setting. A priest tries to assure him that he will be OK until the cleric learns how Bob earns his living. The priest then jumps on the bed and shakes the patient while he berates him.
Focus chief executive Mark Miller said the feisty tone of the “Public Enemy” spots was intentional. “If you’re going to get noticed against the Big Three, you have to take a different approach” Miller said. People have an emotional response to the tactics of some long-distance services, and that’s what this is about.”