News

Cox Waves Mobile Flag

1/16/2010 2:00 AM Eastern

Cox Communications last week kicked off a teaser advertising campaign — with the tagline “Unbelievably Fair” — leading up to its wireless-services launches in three initial markets in March, as the cable company looks to tap into consumer resentment over the mobile-phone plans of incumbent carriers.

However, citing competitive reasons, Cox is still not divulging pricing or other details of the service, which the operator is currently in testing in the three markets: Hampton Roads, Va.; Omaha, Neb.; and Orange County, Calif.

Doner, Cox's advertising agency of record, created a fake wireless-service provider, “Your Wireless,” and set up a mall kiosk to capture consumers reacting to the description of common wireless plans. The campaign features the “Digis,” Cox's tiny blue space-suited mascots.

In the TV spots, a representative of “Your Wireless” tells mall shoppers about plans under which they would pay for all of the minutes in their plan — regardless of whether they actually used them. Reactions caught on hidden camera included, “You're going to charge me for not using all of my minutes?” and “That's pretty unfair.”

Cox also launched a new Web site, www.unbelievablyfair.com, where consumers can sign up to learn more about the MSO's wireless services when they launch. Cox cable customers will receive a free on-demand movie for signing up.

For the initial market launches, Cox is wholesaling 3G service from Sprint Nextel, the key partner in the failed Pivot joint venture with Cox, Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Cox has said the new deal with Sprint is different, in that it allows the MSO to control pricing, features and other aspects of the service.

The cable company also is building out its own network, which it plans to upgrade to Long Term Evolution 4G wireless broadband technology down the road (see “Cox's Mobile Mission,” July 27, 2009, p. 8).

The “Unbelievably Fair” campaign elements will vary by market, but will use a variety of media, including cross-channel spots, broadcast and print advertisements, billboards, e-mail blasts, Web ads, sponsorship of local news delivery via text messaging, electronic newsletters, and bill inserts and messages, Cox manager of public relations Jill Ullman said.

Doner, based in Southfield, Mich., created Cox's Digi characters for the “Your Friend in the Digital Age” campaign launched in 2008. The company claims to be the largest independently owned advertising agency in the world, with approximately $2 billion in aggregate billings.

Cox was named Multichannel News' 2009 Operator of the Year in part because of its relatively aggressive wireless strategy. The MSO is hoping its high marks in residential phone service carry over into the wireless sector. The company received the No. 1 ranking in customer satisfaction for the East and West regions in J.D. Power and Associates' 2009 residential phone survey.

September