Riney Revises Sprint ‘Connection’

LOS ANGELES Publicis & Hal Riney has launched a largely Internet-based campaign for Sprint’s business-to-business connectivity that uses the illusion of personalized videos.

This could be the agency’s final work for the client, which recently moved creative chores to Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.

Developed with Mekanism, San Francisco, and director Lee Einhorn, the cdtreatmentcenter.com site reintroduces the “connectile dysfunction” concept of Riney’s Super Bowl spot with a humorous mock documentary of husbands and wives getting emotional about failing to connect on the Internet.

The running double entendre is “erectile dysfunction,” and the mockumentary uses many of the sappy tropes and music of pharmaceutical ads.

After the introduction, “Nurse Debbie” inside the bogus CD Treatment Center answers phones and makes sarcastic asides (“We’re going to have a lot of lions and tigers in dysfunction junction today”) as Web users fill out an admittance form for their friends. Participants can personalize the form with the name of the afflicted party, the name of his wife or girlfriend, occupational field and geographic location. When recipients respond to the e-mail link, the video plays an apparently personalized message.

“We recorded takes of over 400 names and industries, then cut them into little clips,” said Dominic Goldman, interactive creative director at the San Francisco agency.

Goldman said the interactive execution was deliberately delayed from the Super Bowl launch. “There is very little branding going on in the video,” he said, “apart from a few distinctive yellow cues [for Sprint]. But when you mouse over the brochure for a cure, Sprint will come up.”

Goldman said that strategy allowed the viral piece to feel less like advertising and “get under people’s radar and entertain them without the hard sell.”

The agency is using a syndication program to disseminate the information in blogs and chat rooms.

Paul Mimiaga wrote the copy under the creative leadership of ecd Jon Soto. Tom Wright and Guy Overfelt produced.

Separately, Riney’s guerrilla campaign in March for the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter featured a two-sided mobile billboard parked between Market and Ferry Streets in San Francisco. It created the illusion of earthquake-devastated buildings beyond.

The interactive department used Craig’s List to tease readers with housing-deal headlines that turned out to be fictitious earthquake-ruined wrecks (“No running water or electricity, but lots of light in the day directly overhead”). Street teams gave out empty water bottles labeled, “Try living on this for three days.”

The Red Cross effort promoted the necessity of earthquake-preparedness kits. The tagline: “What do we have to do to get your attention?”