Riney Takes Elementary Approach for Sprint

SAN FRANCISCO Publicis Groupe’s Publicis & Hal Riney launches a new Sprint TV campaign today that shows schoolchildren reacting with outrage to favoritism and arbitrary treatment, the type of behavior engaged in by some wireless phone companies.

Spots in the San Francisco shop’s “Changing for the better” campaign are not scripted. The ads combine adult actors with real first-, second- and third-grade students to “capture the kids’ genuine confusion and frustration within the confines of a structured, scripted commercial production.

Documentarian Barbara Kopple of Nonfiction Spots directed the commercials.

“The Truth About Wireless” spot was shot at an elementary school in Austin, Texas. Riney group creative directors Erin Alvo and Mark Sweeney said although most adults are used to the restrictions of wireless plans, children “think it’s weird.”

“I give tremendous credit to the actors, who tapped into the children’s raw emotions,” Kopple said. “The kids were really motivated to respond honestly.”

Brian Baker, “The Sprint Guy,” appears in some of the ads, but his scenes were shot at the end to avoid revealing the approach.

The campaign also involves print, radio and Internet components and has an initial launch period of two to three months. The effort also supports Sprint PCS’ picture phones and customer service. Spending was not disclosed.