Cox Communications Inc. in Orange County, Calif., took advantage of the Christmas holiday advertising noise to trumpet its phone product in daily ads, luring potential consumers with free service.
Competing providers, such as AT&T Corp., were touting their ability to deliver both local and long-distance service, so Cox advertised its capabilities, too.
In one newspaper ad, the company urged consumers to "Enjoy your holidays with free California calling." Readers responding to the ad could get free in-state calling for three months. The first phone line is $9.99, plus installation. A second line is priced at $4.99.
Consumers who transfer their number from another carrier had to pay one-time fees of $10.
The cluster promoted its bundles, too, promoting the fact that consumer could save $15 each month by buying digital-video, telephone and high-speed-data service from Cox.
The savings were offered in the form of free cable-modem rental (valued at $15); free digital-gateway service, including the modem; a free premium service (Home Box Office, Cinemax, Showtime or Starz!); or $10 off the complete bundle bill.
A system spokesperson said the cluster often offers similar discounts but the Christmas campaign represented a new approach in advertising creative.