In the latest TV advertisement rolled out by Mississippi-based Cellular South as part of its 2005 campaign, lots of interesting things happen. For example, a cell phone subscriber crosses a busy intersection with a giant flowerpot over his head.
The eye-catching ad portrays “a montage of moments where something happens, be it wondrous or wacky, that strikes a chord within to tell someone about it,” said Jana Latour, director of advertising and marketing for Cellular South.
The spot debuted February 6 during Super Bowl XXXIX, marking the fifth consecutive year the company has invested in local and regional TV spots with the most watched television event’s national advertising blitz.
“The Super Bowl is ‘the’ place to be with its phenomenal ratings and huge audience, regional as well as national,” said Latour. “The timing has made it the perfect venue for us to debut our new advertising for the last five years. It’s almost like a clean slate for the new year and perfect for launching a new campaign. Many people watch the Super Bowl to just watch the commercials, so it is a very captive and important audience.”
Close game, solid ratings
Unlike recent Super Bowl contests, the score at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla., was close throughout most of the game, with the three-time winning New England Patriots edging the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21.
“We were very pleased with the game and the close score,” said Latour. “It definitely makes for a more interesting game and larger viewership. We understand how passionate many people are about football and know that many of the people who live in our region follow NFL teams, along with their favorite college teams.”
Former Southern Miss football star and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Todd Pinkston was one of the standouts of the Super Bowl, but Cellular South didn’t have any tie-in advertising.
“We don’t have any endorsements with NFL players, but as always, we support teams in our region and, as a Mississippi-headquartered company, it was great to see a player from a Mississippi university in the Super Bowl — and playing so well,” said Latour.
Service without thinking about it
Cramer-Krasselt, Cellular South’s advertising agency, and the company’s in-house advertising department collaborated on the new brand campaign, Around Us, with the new spot that debuted during the Fox-broadcast Super Bowl as the first rollout of its 2005 branding campaign.
“The television ad celebrates the wonderful array of things there are to talk about, where you have the freedom to use your wireless phone without having to think about it,” said Latour. “That’s exactly why Cellular South provides hassle-free rate plans, nationwide digital coverage and a world-class voice and data network so customers can communicate as much as they want, wherever they want. The various vignettes featured in the spot, of both ordinary and extraordinary events, convey something you want to tell someone about. With Cellular South, you have no worries of picking up your phone to make that call or send a text message.”
All the footage is original photography and not stock, an attribute unique for a spot like Cellular South’s.
“This is the first year that we have chosen for our spot used during the Super Bowl to be strictly a brand spot and one that does not promote a specific product or service,” said Latour. “We chose this route to make a strong emotional connection with viewers, and throughout the year we will be supporting our brand strategy with spots that are more product specific. In fact, we are shooting a spot right now that is product specific and complementary to the brand spot. Look for it in the next few weeks.”
Covering the region
Established in 1988, Jackson-based Cellular South has grown from providing service on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to building a strong third generation digital voice and data network in a region spanning from Memphis throughout Mississippi to coastal Alabama and the Florida panhandle to Walton County. The wireless leader in Mississippi, the company now operates more than 75 retail outlets and has a customer care center and a telesales center located in the state.
Since 1999, the company has spent $348 million in network improvements. One hundred towers were added in 2004, and Cellular South plans to invest $56 million in its network in 2005, which calls for the addition of 150 new cell sites.
“Customers must be able to use their phone when they want and where they want, with near landline-like quality,” emphasized Latour. “We believe the freedom to depend on your wireless phone as your primary phone starts with the network. That’s why we constantly invest in network improvements and maintenance.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at email@example.com.