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San Diego High Tech News

Feb. 1, 2001: 'Comfortable Wireless' Campaign Has Cricket Chirping

San Diego-based Leap Wireless bills itself as 'a new kind of wireless company.' The company's subsidiary, Cricket Communications, offers 'Comfortable Wireless.' The wireless service enables customers to make local calls from around their metro area and receive calls anywhere for a flat monthly rate. They don't have to sign a contract or pass a credit check.

Cricket is targeting a mass consumer audience initially in smaller markets - Little Rock, AR; Tucson, AZ; Charlotte and Greensboro, NC; Tulsa, OK; Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville, TN; an Salt Lake City, Provo and Ogden, UT.

To promote and brand Comfortable Wireless, Cricket rolled out a marketing campaign that features a bright lime green couch. Actors portraying blue collar working guys, busy moms, teens and new wage earners just out of college comfortably recline together on the couch, which is situated outdoors on a grassy field with clear blue sky as background.

"We wanted to accentuate the fact that it's stress-free and easygoing," said Paul Argay, Cricket's VP of Marketing.

The couch has become ubiquitous - seen on billboards, in selected newspapers and on local TV stations, including cable. Radio ads obviously can't show the couch but you do hear a lot of crickets supplying background noise.

Two new ads were launched last month. The first shows some ordinary looking people relaxing on the couch. As the camera pulls back, viewers see more than a thousand couches dotting the countrywide. As the image fades, you see on the screen, "The Around Town Phone That Everyone's Comfortable With."

The second ad depicts the couch stretched out over a mile and is contorted to resemble the Great Wall of China.

Cricket says the couch campaign has helped increase business. The company claims that after six weeks of advertising in Nashville, brand awareness among consumers was 71 percent. The figures were gleaned from independent market research (Cricket declined to name the firm conducting the research). Argay added that Cricket is getting "three to five times the penetration of a typical wireless company in a given market."

The couch has become Cricket's trademark and will continue to be used as an entrée to reach consumers in other markets.

Marketing expert Neal Leavitt heads up Fallbrook-based Leavitt Communications, which also has affiliate offices in Paris, France and Hamburg, Germany. He'll look at different local marketing campaigns each month. He can be reached at

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