Price gets personified in $15 mil Suncom push

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Interpublic Group of Cos.' Gotham, New York, debuts a $15 million ad campaign today for wireless regional company SunCom, the largest member of AT&T Corp.'s wireless network.

With a series of print, TV, radio and outdoor ads, SunCom will introduce its new wireless calling plan and three-tiered pricing structure. Each pricing scheme is personified in the campaign.

Creative focuses on a trio of calling plans SunCom terms SunRates that are identified by number: the local No. 1; the regional No. 2; and the national No. 3. Each is represented by people providing local color and proudly displaying the plan number appropriate for them.

For instance, the local No. 1 plan features King of the BBQ Grill, a "hometown guy with the best BBQ in the South." The regional No. 2 plan is represented by Mary and Bo, two characters who tend to move from state to state but are loyal to the regions where they grew up. Finally, the national No. 3 plan is represented by Gus, a tornado chaser who follows twisters around the country for a living.

The tagline for the campaign, "What's your number?" touts the calling plan as being "as simple as 1-2-3." Customers are presented as "uncomplicated people showing uncomplicated lives -- all reflecting uncomplicated wireless pricing," said Phil Balshi, exec VP-creative director at Gotham.


Each spot features an original score and music performed by Tabby Thomas, the king of New Orleans swamp blues.

Six different 30-second spots will air this week in prime time in Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee, supported by six radio spots and six print ads. Outdoor also supports.

"The creative started with the concept that wireless is a very complicated and confusing market," said Seth Farbman, director of marketing communications for SunCom. "We really wanted to focus on a message of simplicity, so `as simple as 1-2-3' became the basis for the campaign."

SunCom selected Gotham as its agency of record in February to launch the brand. SunCom provides digital wireless service through TeleCorp PCS, Arlington, Va. The company is licensed to serve about 16.7 million people.

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