The Sprint Mobile Broadband campaign launched with a Super Bowl TV spot. We also produced Print and Radio, but a fundamental ingredient was missing - Interactive.

Although Sprint used another digital agency to handle all their online work, the team knew how important this component was to the overall effectiveness of the campaign.

We were proactive in developing and selling this concept to the client.

Following the presentation of this idea the client agreed that it made sense to keep things tightly integrated- we got the green light.

The goal for this piece was to create B2B product awareness. We felt that despite this being business advertising we could create something interesting enough for people to personalize and send the joke onto their friends and colleagues.

What is Connectile Dysfunction?

Connectile Dysfunction, or CD, is the inability to make a strong or long-lasting internet connection with a laptop broadband card. It's a phrase we coined at Riney - an obvious parody of Erectile Dysfunction.

The campaign was targeted at business travelers who depend on ready internet access whenever they need it, whether it is in a meeting, an airport or a coffee shop.

Concept Development

We created a microsite where CD sufferers could be cured: The Connectile Dysfunction Treatment Center (CDTC).

It was important for us to accurately recreate the look and feel of a cheesy pharmaceutical company. The opening scene set the tone for the plot - a man and his wife melodramatically commiserate over his unreliable internet connection and his overwhelming feelings of inadequacy of this shortcoming.

We enter the lobby of the CDTC where we are welcomed by a highly caffeinated Nurse Debbie. She presents the user with four options housed in CD Treatment Center brochures:

1. Find a cure- leads you to Sprint’s product page

2. What is Connectile Dysfunction? - a short, animated film explaining the condition,

3. Tour the Center - where you meet the Center’s eclectic patients and can observe the treatments they undergo, and finally:

4. Admit a Friend.

Every detail had to be authentic - the wardrobe, music, set design, confessionals and cast - to deliver our vision of the Center. Writers Lee Einhorn and Paul Mimiaga drew inspiration from erectile dysfunction infomercial content.

Lee Einhorn and the production team at Mekanism were vital to building this story as well. Their imagination and dedication to the project in both Production and Post were exceptional.

The microsite also serves as a vehicle for the main component - a personalized video the user can create and send to a friend who may be suffering from CD.


Users can enter personal tidbits of information about a friend - occupation, city of residence, and partner’s name.

The recipient will receive a link to a video featuring the sultry Dr. Cate McManus of the CDTC, playfully hinting at their difficulty getting and maintaining an internet connection. “I’ve heard you’ve had a little trouble lately. Even [partner’s name] has noticed,” she teases.

Inspired by the pioneers of this personalization technique, Glue London, we recorded over 400 names and industries to store in the customization name bank. When you click on the link delivered to your Inbox Dr. Cate is speaking directly to you.

The user can visit the CDTC microsite and easily create and send a personalized video to someone else.

Casting was Key

We wanted to make sure this online interaction stood out - casting was critical. Our actors were distinctive. Many of the scenes in the isolation rooms were unscripted. And Nurse Debbie’s six-minute improvisation at the reception desk made it entertaining while people spent time filling out the personalization form.

The Shoot

Over two, 12- hour days, cast and crew worked to build a rich story without making it too long. We wanted to make sure the user felt like a participant. Shot in HD, the production has a polished, quality feel. I was also happy with the way the camera moves when touring the Center.

The Launch

The original plan was to disseminate the site via an email blast to Sprint’s roster of Business customers. In the eleventh hour the strategy changed, and the site was launched via syndication. This wasn’t optimal but, in truth, it gave us a truer sense of its “viralability”.

Final Thoughts

On the surface Connectile Dysfunction may appear to be a quirky take on the frustrations of not being able to connect to the internet. But through the parody it also reminds people of how an undependable Internet connection can adversely affect them.

Since I’ve been at Riney one of my main goals has been making sure we present an Interactive package for each campaign and, unlike this piece, is part of the original thinking.

About the author, Dominic Goldman
SVP Creative Director, Publicis & Hal Riney

Dominic Goldman (http://www.dominicgoldman.com) has recently joined BBH London as a Creative Director working in interactive and traditional mediums. He was previously at Hal Riney, Goodby Silverstein and Ogilvy Singapore as Digital Creative Director.

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