Comcast Unleashes ‘Shaq ‘n Stein’

NEW YORK Comcast has launched an effort to draw subscribers with the promise that the cable provider offers a mix of quality and value.

A centerpiece of the TV campaign is a commercial starring the incongruous duo of basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and economist/actor Ben Stein.
In the spot, the pitchmen are literally handcuffed together in order to show the two sides of the Comcast offering. O’Neal talks up the service as a gateway to entertainment, while Stein focuses on value and smart shopping. The duo are shown maneuvering around the set. At the end, O’Neal suggests the two shoot a movie: “Shaq n Stein.”

The campaign is from Digitas, which won Comcast’s national “demand-generation” account late last year. Comcast’s brand agency is Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. Berlin Cameron handles it’s business-to-business advertising.
Comcast svp, marketing communications Peter Intermaggio said the company no longer views its agencies as providing specialty services; instead, it expects them to come up with ideas hat can be executed across channels.
“They can range anywhere the idea takes them,” he said. “I don’t think of one group as the digital agency and one as the TV agency.”
Traditional agencies have been beefing up their digital skills. Goodby, for example, ran a wide-ranging “Comcast Town” brand push that included a virtual-world microsite. By the same token, digital specialists like AKQA and Razorfish have done integrated campaigns.
In addition to TV, Digitas is using radio, print, online and direct mail for the month-long initiatve. O’Neal and Stein are also contributing to the Comcast corporate blog, Comcast Voices, which launched in March.

Digitas has done TV creative before, mostly in the direct-TV arena, for clients like Pfizer, Delta and Samsung. It is trying to build on its direct heritage with solid creative work, said Seth Solomons, global CMO at the shop.
“We’re much more ideas-centric, much more the creativity that marries with the performance,” he said.