Customers Like Me

Good idea coming through the Verizon marketing department and noted by Slate. We’ll certainly have to wait and see how well it extends as new products and services are presented.

Assuming the Elliot family is working well with consumers, I’d like to see this extended into other marketing channels like DM and Interactive. Targeting families who would be most like the Elliots would be a great start and be an easy way to sell services by direct comparison to your own family. You could also consider the use of a DVD with the existing footage, plus interactive content in-mail to convey this richer targeted message to key customer segments… If the pieces were broken into logical bite-sized segments, you could also utilize the online channel, though it seems they are selling broadband so you would not want to be proving how well someone else’s connection works too well.

Why make a sitcom-mercial? I asked Amy Rubenstein, Verizon vice president for brand management. She says there are two main goals, and the first is simply to entertain. These ads are meant to feel fresh, with their sitcom tone and their appealing, mixed-race cast. Rubenstein says you’re less likely to “tune these ads out, or say, ‘I’ve seen this before.’ “

The second goal is more complex. Rubenstein says that the Elliot household will serve as a “consistent brand platform.” Rather than launching new products from scratch�with a battle each time to build awareness (“here’s the new calling plan FROM VERIZON”)�they’ll just slip the new product into the Elliots’ daily lives. Cheaper calling plan? Mom Elliot loves it! Better Internet features? Dad’s a big fan!

Verizon gets a brand icon (the likable Elliot family) that’s also a familiar and comfortable setting in which to introduce new products. It keeps everything under one roof (literally, though fictionally) so as a viewer, you link Verizon’s services together in your mind. Which is the crucial concept for a communications giant. They desperately want you to buy a whole suite of their products, not pick and choose your phone/mobile/Internet out of a grab-bag of providers. [Slate Magazine]

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