Wieden + Kennedy Waxes Metaphorical in First Full Campaign for Verizon

12 ads make the case for quality

Verizon recently surprised many in the agency world by signing Wieden + Kennedy as its newest creative partner without launching a formal review. And this week, after introducing a sleeker logo, America's leading wireless provider debuted "Better Matters," the first full campaign from the agency.

The theme of this work is ambitious and suggests only Verizon can fully deliver on "the promise of the digital world." Its central analogy, illustrated with a series of colorful metaphors in a dozen ads from W+K's creative team, holds that a higher-quality network leads to a better quality of life, especially when it comes to everyday convenience.

One scene in the first ad highlights a frustrated man whose wireless connection "only works in one corner of the house." The message is clear: Verizon's product is simply better than its competitors.

Regarding the launch spot, Wieden + Kennedy creative directors Aaron Allen and Jason Kreher told Adweek via email, "Everyone in this category has invented a claim to make it sound like they are the best. But when you are the leader like Verizon is, you have the opportunity to talk to people on a higher level. It was important to us to rise above the bickering of this category and stand for something bigger."

The next set of :30 ads elaborates on that theme with an assortment of self-described experts, who let consumers know exactly how a "better" network operates compared to inferior rivals.

In "Scuba," a French instructor compares the flow of wireless data to that of oxygen through a series of tubes. (Note the all-important "do not attempt" disclaimer.)

Next, a woman who may be a little too passionate about her juicing hobby elaborates (in her own unnerving way) on the benefits of Verizon's 100 percent LTE or "long-term evolution" technology.

In the following spot, an unnamed high schooler joins forces with Spandau Ballet to compare Verizon's ultra-reliable network to the untouchable magnetism of ultimate 80s couple Corey and Samantha, who always seem to attract attention without even trying.

Another spot invokes Wall-E in answering an eternal question: What is a cartoon door without a group of animated, lemming-like humanoids trying to squeeze through it?

Following that star turn, the campaign uses several other inanimate objects and a paper lizard in a series of :15 spots.

First comes the abnormally large basketball hoop.

An hourglass can also do the job with a little help from its archenemy, the cylinder.

What better way to explain how data (or, in this case, liquid) moves most effectively from one point to the next by traveling in a straight line than with a crazy straw?

The next take is particularly topical given McDonald's newfound dedication to cage-free eggs.

Just like this lizard and its paper tail, Verizon always has a backup generator ready in case things start to go wrong.

Finally, as if to cover all possible bases, the campaign turns to two star athletes for their own versions of the operative metaphor.

Backup Saints quarterback Luke McCown brings a new perspective (literally) to the smartphone experience, while Texans defensive end and Men's Health cover model J.J. Watt keeps working hard, even when no one can see him doing it. If a tree falls in the forest, J.J. Watt definitely makes a sound.

The larger claim—which is impossible for anyone with a pulse to miss—is that Verizon's network allows for a more unencumbered flow of data than those of its competitors. With Sprint focusing on price as a differentiator and AT&T releasing ads to highlight its recent merger with DirecTV and its efforts to curb the texting-while-driving epidemic, Verizon hopes that this message will resonate with consumers who rely on that all-important wireless data in almost every moment of their lives.

The new campaign and logo are part of an extended attempt to plot the present and future course of a company that would like to be all things to all people, including AOL members. Svp of brand creative marketing Melissa Garlick says, "Instead of trying to talk to different types of people all at once, we found a dozen different ways to explain how Verizon has a better network, and why better matters."

Creative directors Allen and Kreher echoed that message, telling Adweek, "The challenge was explaining some pretty dry facts in a way that would resonate." The varied nature of this campaign "ensured that production would be a huge challenge, but it resulted in a ton of good work that helps Verizon stand out from the competition."

The ads above are not W+K's first work for Verizon. Some of the agency's spots released earlier in the summer—like this one starring a very sad dog—focused more on the economics of Verizon's service package. But the "Better Matters" campaign will be the client's most notable marketing effort, with ads airing during this fall's biggest events including NFL and college football games throughout the coming season.

While Verizon still includes mcgarrybowen, which created recent wireless campaigns starring James Franco, on its agency roster, Wieden + Kennedy's tenure as the company's lead creative partner effectively begins with this campaign.


Client: Verizon   
Title: "Better Matters"  
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Creative Directors: Aaron Allen, Jason Kreher   
Copywriter: Alex Romans, Nathaniel Lawlor   
Art Director: Tim Semple, Ruth Belloti   
Producer: Hayley Goggin, Endy Hedman   
Strategic Planning: Amber Higgins, Anibal Casso   
Media/Comms Planning: Kelly Muller, Kelsey Dean   
Account Team: Trish Adams, Diana Gonzalez, Marcelina Ward   
Business Affairs: Anna Beth Nagel, Laura Caldwell   
Project Management: Liza Robbins   
Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples / Mark Fitzloff   
Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz 
Production Company: Arts & Sciences   
Director: Matt Aselton   
Executive Producer: Marc Marnie   
Line Producer: Zoe Odlum   
Director of Photography: Toby Irwin 
Editorial Company: Joint Editorial   
Editor: Tommy Harden   
Post Producer: Jen Milano   
Post Executive Producer: Leslie Carthy 
VFX Company: The Mill   
2D Lead: Robin McGloin   
2D artists: Scott Wilson, Alex Candlish, Jeff Langlois   
Lead Design+Animation: Justin Sucara   
Senior Executive Producer: Sue Troyan   
Pr VFX Producer: Kiana Bicoy   
Production Coordinator: Jillian Lynes
Composer: Alison Ables  
Sound Designer: Noah Woodburn
Mix Company: Eleven  
Mixer: Jeff Payne  
Producer: Suzanne Hollingshead 

Title: "Door," "Lizard," "Egg"

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Creative Directors: Aaron Allen, Jason Kreher  
Copywriter: Claire Wyckoff (Door, Lizard); Matt Skibiak (Egg)  
Art Director: Chuck Carlson (Door, Lizard); Nicole Blauw (Door, Lizard); Nate Nowinowski (Egg)  
Producer: Jennifer Hundis, Felicia Glover  
Strategic Planning: Amber Higgins, Zack Jerome  
Media/Comms Planning: Kelly Muller, Kelsey Dean  
Account Team: Trish Adams, Diana Gonzalez, Marcelina Ward  
Business Affairs: Laura Caldwell (Door); Anna Beth Nagel (Lizard, Egg)  
Project Management: Liza Robbins  
Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples / Mark Fitzloff  
Head of Production Ben Grylewicz Production Company: Buck  
Director: Ryan Honey (Door, Lizard, Egg); Kevin Walker (Door); Gunnar Pettersson (Lizard); Jenny Ko (Egg)  
Executive Producer: Maurie Enochson  
Line Producer: Matt Squires (Egg)  
Director of Photography: Jonpaul Douglass (Egg)
Editorial Company: Buck  
Editor: Buck  
Post Producer: Emily Rickard  
Post Executive Producer: Maurie Enochson
VFX Company: Buck  
VFX Supervisor: Doug Wilkinson (Door, Lizard, Egg); Alex Dingfelder (Lizard)  
VFX Producer: Emily Rickard
Music+Sound Company: Mutato + LIME   
Composer: Mark Mothersbaugh  
Sound Designer: Rohan Young  
Song: "Blissful Driving Experience"  
Producer: Natalie Montogomery
Music+Sound Company: Pivot  
Sound Designer: Rohan Young  
Producer: Susie Boyajan/Guy Amitai
Mix Company: LIME  
Mixer: Rohan Young  
Producer: Susie Boyajan  

Title: "Backup QB," "Juice," "It Couple," "Scuba"

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland
Creative Directors: Aaron Allen, Jason Kreher 
Copywriter: Brooke Barker (Backup QB, Juice, It Couple); Alex Romans (Scuba) 
Art Director: Susan Land (Backup, QB, Juice, It Couple, Scuba); John Dwight (Scuba) 
Producer: Shannon Worley, Felicia Glover
Strategic Planning: Amber Higgins, Zack Jerome 
Media/Comms Planning: Kelly Muller, Kelsey Dean 
Account Team: Trish Adams, Diana Gonzalez, Marcelina Ward 
Business Affaires: Teresa Lutz 
Project Management: Liza Robbins 
Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples / Mark Fitzloff 
Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz
Production Company: Imperial Woodpecker
Director: Stacy Wall
Executive Producer: Doug Halbert
Line Producer: Terri Shafirov
Director of Photography: Ellen Kuras
Editorial Company: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Grant Surmi
Assistant Editor: Ben Reesing
Post Producer: Ashley Bartell
Post Executive Producer: Angela Dorian
VFX Company: a52
Lead Flame Artist: Andy Bate, Stefan Gaillot
Flame Artist: Matt Sousa
Flame Assistant: Gabe Sanchez
Post Producer: Zach Wakefield
Music+Sound Company: Original music by Human
Producer: Jonathan Sanford
Music+Sound Company: tonefarmer
Composer: Jimmy Harned
Producer: Liz Higgins
Sound Company: Lime Studios
Sound Designer: Dave Wagg
Assistant: Adam Primack
Producer: Susie Boyajan
Mix Company: Lime Studios
Mixer: Zach Fisher
Producer: Susie Boyajan
Assistant: Kevin McAlpine    

Title: "Hourglass," "Basketball," "Straw"

Creative Directors: Aaron Allen, Jason Kreher
Copywriter: Claire Wyckoff, Alex Romans (Straw)
Art Director: Chuck Carlson, Nicole Blauw, Robbie Rane (Straw)
Producer: Jennifer Hundis, Erin Goodsell, Felicia Glover
Strategic Planning: Amber Higgins, Zack Jerome
Media/Comms Planning: Kelly Muller, Kelsey Dean
Account Team: Trish Adams, Diana Gonzalez, Marcelina Ward
Business Affairs: Anna Beth Nagel
Project Management: Liza Robbins
Executive Creative Directors: Joe Staples / Mark Fitzloff
Head of Production: Ben Grylewicz
Production Company: Hornet
Director: Lernert & Sander
Executive Producer: Hana Shimizu
Line Producer: David Marks
Director of Photography: Aaron Platt
Editorial Company: Hornet
Editor: Anita Chao
Post Producer: Desiree Stavracos
Post Executive Producer: Hana Shimizu
VFX Company: Hornet
VFX Supervisor: Arman Matin
VFX Producer: Desiree Stavracos
Music+Sound Company: PIVOT, Barking Owl
Composer: Pivot + Barking Owl
Producer: Guy Amitai
Mix Company: LIME
Producer: Susie  Boyajan

Title: "The Network of J.J. Watt"

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy New York
Executive Creative Directors: Mark Fitzloff, Joe Staples
Creative Directors: Sean McLaughlin, John Parker
Creative Directors: Aaron Allen, Jason Kreher
Creative Directors: Stuart Jennings, Caleb Jensen
Copywriter: Eric Helin
Art Director: Erwin Federizo
Head of Content Production: Nick Setounski
Broadcast Producer: Orlee Tatarka
Digital Producer: Mutaurwa Mapondera
Print Producer: Kristen Althoff
Print Traffic Coordinator: Shane Thompson
Studio Manager: Jill Kearton
Brand Strategist: Marshall Ball
Account Team: Trish Adams, Samantha Wagner, Kristen Herrington, Jasmine Cogdell
Media Director: David Stopforth
Communications Planners: Courtney Bernstein, Kelsey Dean
Project Manager: Alex Doomany
Broadcast Traffic Director: Sonia Bisono
Broadcast Traffic Manager: Carolina Hernandez
Business Affairs Managers: Patrick O'Donohue, Lindsey Timko
Production Company: Arts & Sciences
Director: Matt Aselton
Executive Producer/COO: Mal Ward
Executive Producer: Marc Marrie
Line Producer: Zoe Odlum
Director of Photography: Ulrik Boel Bentzen
Editorial Company: Arcade Editorial
Editor: Jeff Ferruzzo
Post Producer: Lauren Cancelosi
Editorial Assistant: Mark Popham
VFX Company: The Mill
VFX Flame: John McIntosh and Molly Intersimone 
Producer: Clairellen Wallen, Georgina Castle
Telecine Company: The Mill
Colorist: Fergus McCall
Mix Company: Sound Lounge
Mixer: Glen Landrum
Music: Able Baker