SPRINT LAUNCHES $100 MILLION AD CAMPAIGN

TV Work Is Unusual in Its Lack of Scripts and Use of Non-Actors

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YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) -- Sprint launches a $100 million advertising blitz today in support of its new wireless concept called Fair & Flexible, according to the company.
The first spot of the new Sprint campaign is noteworthy for its lack of script and use of non-actors.

Sprint PCS Fair & Flexible is a wireless phone plan designed to automatically adjust to a customer's month-to-month actual minutes usage rather than an arbitrarily set amount of minutes. For example, when a customer goes over his or her monthly minutes, the plan automatically adds 25 minutes to the account, at a cost of just $2.50. The base rate for Fair & Flexible is $35 dollars for 300 minutes.

Documentary style
The ads, created by Publicis & Hal Riney of San Francisco, part of Publicis Groupe, used neither actors nor scripts. Instead, a group of young students are filmed in a documentary style. In the first TV spot, "Red Ball," breaking today, a teacher explains to the students that before they play with the ball, they will have to first tell her how many minutes they will use the ball every month for the next two years.

The camera then cuts to the bewildered children trying to calculate the minutes in their head. No actors or scripts were used for the commercials; the children are just students reacting to the confusing situation presented.

"Kids look at the world in black and white, and we wanted to capture that response to unnatural events," said Dave Dess, Sprint's vice president of marketing and communications. He said the company wanted the spot to "captures exactly how adults feel [about complex wireless plan issues]."

Integrated campaign
The integrated campaign, which includes TV, print, radio and Internet, will run aggressively for the initial launch period of two to three months. The campaign will also support Sprint PCS' ongoing efforts in promoting its picture phones and customer service.

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