Vonage Shows 'Ultimate Business Fails' in New Campaign

Spots Demonstrate What Can Happen When Video Conferencing Systems Don't Work

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In humorous TV spots breaking today, Vonage shows the gap that exists between technological advancements -- such as sending a spacecraft to Mars -- and the frustrations of not being able to get business video conferencing systems to work.

The campaign, called "It's About Time," was created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Miami. It includes TV and digital video ads. The budget was undisclosed.

"The goal is to position Vonage as a business-first cloud communications company," said Ted Gilvar, CMO at Vonage. "Many people think of us as a consumer-first company, but we want people to walk away knowing that Vonage means business."

Last year, Vonage projected that its b-to-b revenue would grow by 40% as it made a bigger push into the business communications space. Mr. Gilvar said Vonage achieved this goal through organic growth in 2015, and as a result of new acquisitions, Vonage's b-to-b revenue was up 76% in the first quarter of this year over the same period last year.

"When you think about business communications, there is a major gap that exists between the technology that business communications providers deliver and what people have come to expect with consumer communications," Mr. Gilvar said. "It is easy, intuitive and seamless to use a mobile phone for personal use, but many business communication providers just don't deliver this."

To make this point, the spots show that while humankind has been able to develop superior technology, it's impossible to communicate this when video conferencing systems break down.

In one spot, called "Mars Landing," mission control has just landed a spaceship on Mars. When the president of the U.S. calls to congratulate the team leader, the video conferencing system doesn't work and the screen freezes. "The picture from Mars looks great," deadpans one technician.

"This spot taps into the unbelievable frustration that people have with video conferencing in the workplace," Mr. Gilvar said. "People in a work setting have come to accept and deal with video conferencing systems never working, or working with glitches. In the Mars spot, this is not just an everyday business fail, but the ultimate business fail."

In another spot, called "Intelligent Office" (below), a project team has created the office of the future, complete with holograms and automatic conference-room configuration. However, when they try to call their boss -- who has a hard-to-spell name -- they get stuck in the automatic voice mail system. "I'll just go tell him myself," says one annoyed team member.

At the end of each spot, a voiceover says, "It's about time business communications caught up."

The campaign also includes 60-second and 30-second "Anthem" spots running online, highlighting advances such as nanotechnology, animal cloning, space travel and self-driving cars, with a message at the end stating, "But we can't make a decent video call?"

The TV spots will begin running Monday on sports and news programs, including the NHL playoffs on NBC, the Golf Channel and CNBC.

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