AT&T Wireless’ controversial mLife branding campaign is ramping into its second phase, with an online rich media ad campaign designed to continue the effort.
Advertisements created by the mobile carrier’s interactive agency of record, Portland, Ore.-based White Horse, have begun running on sites including Lycos, Ask Jeeves,
Weather.com, ESPN.com and SportsLine.com
during the Olympics.
The advertisements are of the “roadblock” or “takeover” design — which briefly overlays ads on top of editorial content. The ads are based on United Virtualities’ Shoshkele format.
Additionally, White Horse created an execution designed for Gemstar-TV Guide’s
TV Guide Interactive service. Avenue A
handled the campaign’s media planning and buy.
White Horse also revamped the main AT&T Wireless Web site to reflect the look and feel of the mLife campaign. (Ultimately, the original mLife.com Web site is to be phased out in favor of the redesigned AT&T Wireless site.)
The debut of the new ads and Web site represents the campaign’s second online phase. Since mid-January, online, television and out-of-door ads with cryptic messaging (“Is it true that mLife is fattening?”) aimed to encourage consumers to visit mLife.com and register for information.
Like those earlier efforts — most notably, the campaign’s Super Bowl execution, designed by Ogilvy & Mather — AT&T Wireless’ new spots specify little about what mLife is really all about. Instead, the takeover ads seem to discuss how mLife can help people make their lives better, by staying in touch but remaining wireless.
Copy for the ads reads: “Why do we seek adventure, yet long to return? Why do we want to be free, yet remain connected? Is there a way to have it all? mLife. Connect in new, powerful ways to all the people and things you truly care about. It’s your life made truly mobile.”
That particular angle is designed to distance AT&T Wireless’ cell phone, mobile Internet and pager services from consumers’ traditional notions of a telecommunication company. Instead, AT&T Wireless is looking to promote itself as a lifestyle offering. To that end, the ads feature no talk of savings, rate plans or any of the usual marketing tactics employed by wireless carriers’ campaigns to date.
Despite the company’s major effort — spending on the mLife campaign is closely guarded, but media spending is expected to have easily topped $4 million to date — AT&T Wireless took some heat for its new direction.
Specifically, insurance giant MetLife filed suit against the company, alleging trademark infringement. That suit was later dropped, with AT&T Wireless agreeing to withdraw its application for a federal trademark for “mLife.”