Ericsson ads push advanced phones

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Ericsson Mobile Phones this week kicks off an estimated $16 million to $20 million ad campaign designed to promote two of its most advanced products: a new Internet phone, the R280LX, and the T28 World phone.

The campaign, by Y&R Advertising, New York, breaks May 31 on CBS in prime time with two provocative spots touting the wireless handsets' advanced capabilities.

RETURN TO TV

The effort marks the return of Ericsson's consumer unit to TV after more than a year's absence (AA, Dec. 13). The spots also will run on cable networks.

The Media Edge, New York, handles media buying.

Ericsson's push runs through the year and will include a magazine and newspaper effort starting in August, along with outdoor. Retail promotions with the company's carrier partners are also anticipated.

The campaign, part of a broader effort to enhance the No. 3 wireless handset marketer's profile, is the precursor to a global image push via Publicis, London (AA, Nov. 29).

With that effort and the new Y&R work, Ericsson hopes to take on Nokia Mobile Phones and Motorola, ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in North America.

ADDED SIZZLE

"They're certainly in the process in North America of relaunching brand activity to put a little bit more sizzle in their products," said Mark Lowenstein, exec VP-wireless practice at telecommunications consultancy Yankee Group. "They haven't been perceived as having leading edge products. They're looking to make this the year when Ericsson is viewed as the comeback kid in wireless phones."

Two :30s illustrate how people rely on their Ericsson phones not only to stay in touch, but to easily check sports scores and access stock quotes. A futuristic-style spot for the R280LX Internet phone, set in an office, shows co-workers sitting around a table mulling "killer" ideas for a creative project. One utters, "Explosion." The group turns to its boss, who has a basketball-shaped head, as he stares into his R280LX checking sports scores. When the group asks his opinion, he distractedly answers, "Yeah, explosion." Digital Domain supplied animation for the spot.

An unusual spot for the T28 World phone also uses computer animation to reveal a woman's body-painted digital image that appears to be floating on the TV screen. Voice-over highlights the phone's features: "The T28 World phone, as functional as it is beautiful." The T28, targeting globe-trotting road warriors and other busy professionals, can be used in 120 countries. Both spots use Ericsson's "Make Yourself Heard" tagline.

PRINT EFFORT

Ericsson has several print executions destined for business, consumer and in-flight publications. Print ads use body-painted models. One plays off the TV spot of a man whose head resembles a basketball. Another print ad focuses on how consumers can access stock quotes through the R280LX.

An Ericsson Mobile Phones marketing executive could not be reached for comment by press time. Y&R also declined to comment.

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