New Vonage ‘Generosity’ Campaign Puts Brand in Hands of Wild Man

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Vonage is counting on a wild-haired man in its new ad campaign to get across a key message as the online-phone brand keeps evolving with the industry.

Vonage is the generous phone company—or “Crazy Generous,” as is the theme of the first TV-advertising effort by Vonage’s new agency, JWT. In the initial spot, the new Vonage mascot, its “Chief Generosity Officer”—who, the thought occurs, could be a distant cousin to GEICO’s Cave Man—calls for a different kind of phone company that “connects us with generosity.”

Which raises the question: generous in what way? “It’s really about value and what you can get with a company that’s committed to ongoing innovation,” Barbara Goodstein, Vonage’s CMO, told brandchannel. “We’ve had a lot of innovations in just the last few years, and we think this campaign provides an umbrella for all our different products to fit under that makes sense—low costs, flexibility, simplicity and quality.”[more]

The campaign succeeds Vonage’s prevous signature spots in which consumers would be seen crumpling up expensive phone bills and throwing them into huge piles of thousands of others’ phone bills as they all “switch to Vonage.” As the cost of all sorts of phone connectivity in the US has continued to drop, Vonage has specialized in connecting US residents with those overseas, where international calling fees can still be exorbitant.

“This [campaign] is about not worrying about the cost of a call, and not letting time or distance or location stand in the way of connecting,” Goodstein explained. “And about not tethering yourself to a specific device for calling, and not trading low prices for features that make communications easier.”

For example, Vonage launched its mobile service last year, and it continues to add features and benefits. Its Vonage Extensions enables more than one family member to leverage an existing Vonage home-calling plan to call friends and family abroad from wherever they choose, including mobile phones.

“We’re democratizing technology and making it availble for the masses,” Goodstein said. And she promised that Vonage will unveil more of its role in that “generosity revolution” in its next two TV ads coming soon.

Meanwhile, viewers of the first spot must reckon with the crazy-man “CGO.” Goodstein calls him “campaignable and relatable” and “combining the mind of a professor and the tech-savvy look of an engineer. He’s exactly what we were hoping he would be in terms of attracting attention and being interesting and someone people would want to talk about.”

Maybe. It isn’t clear yet if this off-kilter character will effectively convey Vonage’s message or just attract gawking. In any event, Goodstein said, “You instantly know you’re dealing with someone special.”

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