Depending on how irritating consumers find their current cell phone carrier, Sprint is making it a little more fun to say goodbye. As part of its new Any Mobile, Anytime feature, customers can get unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling from the Sprint Network to any U.S. wireless carrier, at any time.
To celebrate, consumers go to www.mobilegoodbye.com, and select the carrier they want to ditch. People looking to lose Verizon get a spoof of Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings," those hoping to leave T-Mobile get a funny version of Madonna's "Like a Virgin," and the "Dear AT&T" letter is set to Stephen Foster's "Oh! Susannah."
And of course, consumers who think the videos are amusing can email them to friends, as well as post them to their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
While a TV campaign supporting the new program broke last weekend, "our creative team thought it would be funny if we had an online component about people dumping their existing carrier," Tracy Palmer, Sprint's director of national advertising, based in Overland Park, Kan., tells Marketing Daily. "So we added this viral piece."
Sprint feels that using humor is the best way to get to people who find restrictive calling circles particularly vexing. "There's a great opportunity out there," she says, "to reach people who just don't want those restrictions. These fun videos encourage viewers to say goodbye to restrictive calling circles and switch to Sprint." The videos were created by Goodby, Silverstein and Partners.
Sprint Nextel currently has about 49 million customers; the new offer enables customers to call any of the 250 million other cell phone users in the U.S., starting at $69.99 a month.
Say it with me: "Viral is a result, not a tactic". Nothing, in the history of teh internets, has ever been launched viral. It becomes viral after the populace have deemed it compelling enough to share with their tribe. Nitpicking, I know - but a very important distinction to be made when fielding asinine briefs for a "viral" campaign.
I agree with Phil Bonnell. Calling something 'viral' before it has even launched is like picking the Superbowl winner in March (congratulations Redskins). The lack of distinction between result and tactic contributes to the marketing myth that it's relatively easy to create something 'viral', when we all know different.