Two spokesmen pitch One Rate: Duval, Reiser

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Paul Reiser has picked up a PGA partner in his quest to convert consumers to AT&T Corp.'s "7 cents per minute" deal. Two new TV spots starring actor-spokesman Mr. Reiser and pro golfer David Duval broke last weekend.

The commercials, first shown during the Pebble Beach golf tournament telecast, highlight AT&T's ongoing sponsorship of the PGA. The work also may foreshadow a new direction for the 3-year-old campaign, pairing Mr. Reiser with other well-known personalities.

`NEW DIMENSION'

"This is an opportunity to give a new dimension in talking about our One Rate plans," said Stephen Graham, AT&T VP-marketing communications. "Will we do more? That's to be determined."

Both commercials from Y&R Advertising, New York, show Messrs. Reiser and Duvall on the golf course.

In the first spot, Mr. Duvall warns his golf partner, with some bravado, "We may get hounded by fans out here. I am David Duval." Just then as a man hustles over, Mr. Duval says to Mr. Reiser, "Here we go." However, the "fan" turns to Mr. Reiser and asks if the 7 cents One Rate is good all the time.

The recent levity injected into the advertising has given new life to the ongoing campaign with Mr. Reiser, said Ira Cohen, AT&T consumer advertising director.

Mr. Graham added: "Combine David Duval, who is extremely successful and in the media today, with the humor of Paul Reiser and it keeps the work very fresh and relevant, and helps the campaign lean forward."

He said the "7 cents per minute all day" One Rate plan continues to perform as well as AT&T had expected "and we had pretty big plans for it."

Competing plans from announced-merger partners Sprint Corp. and MCI WorldCom offer 5 cents per minute but only during certain hours, with a higher rate at other times.

"This reinforces what we set out to do with One Rate and Digital One Rate, which is one simple rate," Mr. Graham said. "It also reinforces what the brand stands for."

`MILLIONAIRE' PAYS OFF

AT&T also scored a successful tie-in with ABC's surprise hit show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" The telecom giant not only bought airtime but struck a deal to provide the "lifeline" phone call each contestant is allowed to make.

Every time host Regis Philbin says, "Our friends at AT&T will connect you," Mr. Cohen said, he can't help but smile.

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