Sprint Ads Say, ‘Yes You Can’

NEW YORK Sprint Nextel on Thursday kicks off a major campaign to introduce the new Sprint brand. The tagline is, “Yes you can.” The effort, which includes TV spots, print and banner ads, billboards, direct mail and retail collateral, is backed by more than $400 million in spending, according to sources.

Omnicom Group’s TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York, which the client selected in June to handle consumer-directed ads, produced the lion’s share of the work. Business-to-business ads came from Publicis Groupe’s Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco.

The campaign touts the flexibility of Sprint’s calling plans as well as its broad selection of phones and services. The tag is new, but the black-and-yellow color scheme comes from Nextel, and the updated logo and closing musical chord trace back to Sprint.

“We were looking for unifying branding elements, taglines, look and feel, rate plans that could cross the bases,” said Mark Schweitzer, chief marketing officer at Sprint Nextel.

The seven TV spots are a mix of brand image and product-focused fare. “The Power of Two” features a montage of famous pairs—from Orville and Wilbur Wright to Tom and Jerry—to unveil the merger of Sprint and Nextel, which was approved by federal regulators last month.

Another spot, “More Morning,” touts expanded choice by showing a 20-something guy waking up and traveling to work, only to be confronted by a sink with four faucet handles, a “walk” sign that also suggests “hop,” “skip” or “gallop” and three options besides an elevator for getting upstairs to his office. (He chooses a jet-powered backpack.)

In “I Seen It,” which is set in a diner, two buddies seated across from each other in a booth discuss Sprint’s network of service offerings before an old man at a counter seat interrupts to say, “It’s big, powerful. I’d leave it alone.”

“Smart wit” was how TBWA\C\D New York executive creative director Gerry Graf described the tone of the work. “We didn’t want to come off as corporate or pretentious,” he explained. As Schweitzer put it, “It’s confident, fun, empowering.”

Other elements include 19 billboard ads, many of which are tailored to their environment. For example, a billboard in the heart of New York’s Times Square features an open cell phone with an electronic screen that will show news reports and music downloads, among other things. The effort also includes more than a dozen print executions and several radio ads.

The TV spots will be seen during major sporting events (e.g., the U.S. Open, Super Bowl, World Series, Nascar Nextel Chase) and during season premieres on broadcast and cable networks, according to Sprint Nextel.

The print buy includes newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and magazines such as Fortune, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated.