Magazine article ADWEEK

T-Mobile's Latest Ads Have Japanese Flavor: Catherine Zeta-Jones Takes Back Seat to Johnny Chase

Magazine article ADWEEK

T-Mobile's Latest Ads Have Japanese Flavor: Catherine Zeta-Jones Takes Back Seat to Johnny Chase

Article excerpt

LOS ANGELES T-Mobile's multimillion-dollar spokeswoman Catherine Zeta-Jones gets upstaged by a cartoon in Publicis in the West's new work for the telco. But it's no Mickey Mouse rendering: The cable TV and online effort features Japanese anime touting an all-in-one wireless device that works more like a personal digital assistant than a cell phone.

The effort, set to break this week, is for T-Mobile's color-screen Sidekick, which features Web browsing, e-mail, AOL instant messaging, phone and digital imaging capabilities. T-Mobile believes it is the first wireless carrier in the U.S. to use anime in ads, although a handful of other advertisers, including Wrigley, have employed the technique.

The campaign is the brainchild of Publicis interactive art director Lazaro Cangas. Working with Itsuro Kawasaki, director of the cult 1996 cyberpunk anime film Ghost in the Shell, making his American commercial-directing debut, and Production I.G. in Tokyo, the shop developed seven three-and-a-half minute Webisodes starring an action hero it created called Johnny Chase.

Chase is an ex-hacker who has been paid by the government never to touch a computer again. He is on the rtm from some "bad guys" and the feds, who are after him for violating their agreement. He uses his Sidekick to get himself and the people he cares about out of danger.

Two 30-second TV spots were pulled from the Webisodes. One has Chase eluding his pursuers by hopping onto a helicopter" propeller. He receives messages from his girlfriend, who asks to meet him at Club Zero. …

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