TurboTax, NBC team to promote each other's products

A: The character and actor both have names — neither of which is "num yummy." Ryan Gaul plays the role of Fippleman, a name created by ad agency Y&R in New York. Campbell Soup spokesman John Faulkner says the character is meant to be an "everyman" and that Gaul has been in Campbell's soup ads for three years, promoting the company's convenience line of soups. "Everyone liked the name. It was funny, and the actor really brought the character to life

Q:

Help me understand the Sprint Wireless Revolution black-and-white ads with DanHesse. I don't get the look and feel of the ads. They are cold and depressing.What gives?—Dan Navarro, Lewisville, Texas

A: Sprint began airing those ads nearly a year ago, and CEO Dan Hesse has appeared in five. The newest was set to begin Sunday. In the ads, he promotes the company's Simply Everything plan that provides unlimited phone and data services for $99. The mood of the ads is intended to convey a serious tone that helps differentiate the brand amid ad clutter.

"One of the reasons why we went with black and white was that we wanted the ads to stand out as elegant and different. Most importantly, we wanted the focus to be on Dan and what he had to say," says Mike Goff, Sprint's vice president of national advertising.

Sprint says the campaign by Goodby Silverstein & Partners has helped raise awareness. But it appears that the campaign has done little to stem the loss of customers. In the third quarter, the company had a net loss of 1.3 million subscribers. Fourth-quarter results will be announced Thursday.

Have a question about TV, print or online advertising? Go to media.usatoday.com and click on "Ask the Ad Team."

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