SIDNEY by Riney San Francisco for U.s. Cellular

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Industry Telecommunications Services
Media Direct marketing
Market United States
Agency Riney San Francisco
Director Steve Rogers
Art Director Richard North
Copywriter Adam Koppel
Account Supervisor Ingrid Jung
Editor Justin Trovato
Released December 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Direct Response Broadcast: TV, Radio & Infomercials
Date of First Appearance: Dec 4 2009 12:00AM
Entrant Company: PUBLICIS & HAL RINEY, San Francisco, USA
Executive Creative Officer: Roger Camp (Publicis/Hal Riney)
Agency Producer: Debbie Chin (Publicis/Hal Riney)
Copywriter: Adam Koppel (Publicis/Hal Riney)
Art Director: Richard North (Publicis/Hal Riney)
Account Supervisor: Ingrid Jung (Publicis/Hal Riney)
Account Manager: Dana Rabb (Publicis/Hal Riney)
Account Planner: Baldwin Cheng (Publicis/Hal Riney)
Director: Steve Rogers (Biscuit Filmworks)
Editor: Justin Trovato (Cosmo Street Editorial)
Media placement: TV Campaign - 3 Spots - WBBM Chicago - 18 November 2009

Describe the brief/objective of the direct campaign.
U.S. Cellular believes you shouldn't pay when someone calls you, so they offer "Free Incoming Calls" on their wireless phone plans. This means over half the calls on your bill could be free, but communicating this value has proven difficult. The big wireless carriers have trained customers shopping for a new wireless plan to focus on the non-sensical terms of their plans, such as calls between people in the same "circles"or "networks".This campaign's objective was to help the more relevant benefit of "Free Incoming Calls" break through in a unique and experiential way.

Explain why the creative execution was relevant to the product or service.
Although prior advertising had been effective at communicating the "Free Incoming Calls" message, market research continued to show that people did not fully understand how it worked. The idea that "all calls you receive are free, no matter who they're from" seemed too good to be true. We needed to demonstrate "Free Incoming Calls" in a simple, clear and credible way. Even if a viewer never called any of our subjects, the mere invitation to call them on a normal phone line demonstrated the benefit was not qualified by any fine print, caveats, legal terms or conditions.

Describe the creative solution to the brief/objective with reference to the projected response rates and desired outcome.
Ads showed vignettes of actual U.S. Cellular customers with intriguing personal stories and invited viewers to give them a friendly call. We listed the customers' actual phone numbers, and all calls actually went to their phones or voice mail. No company representatives or IVR systems handled any calls. We were unsure of what the expected response would be. There was no offer or incentive to call, simply a friendly, if unusual, invitation. We hoped some people would call to respond to the personal story, and that some would call because they doubted the demonstration of "Free Incoming Calls" was real.

Describe the results in as much detail as possible with particular reference to the RESPONSE of the target audience including deliverability statistics, response rates, click throughs, sales cost per response, relationships built and overall return on investment.
Thousands of people called our featured customers' numbers. One received 600+ calls per day, and over 1,000 calls when the ad ran during a Chicago Bears game. One ad ran on a local time slot of the Super Bowl, generating over 13,000 inbound calls. Approximately 50% of the calls were responses to the customer's story. And about 50% were from people who doubted the customer was real. The ads scored well above copytest norms for message delivery, credibility and distinctiveness. Since the ads began airing, U.S. Cellular's brand tracking scores for consideration have increased by 50%.