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Skype may be the most popular consumer VOIP service in the world, but it faces numerous challenges, not the least of which is getting consumers to want to connect with their friends and family using voice.
So how can Skype convince consumers that there's still no more powerful and effective a way to communicate than with a phone call? The possible answer: remind the world that social networking and texting is a lame way to reach out and touch someone.
As detailed by AdAge, Skype has launched an ad campaign in the U.S. and U.K. that will certainly raise eyebrows:
The campaign, from Pereira & O'Dell in San Francisco, uses provocative lines to snipe at other technologies and social media. They include "When did it become OK to text Mum happy birthday?" and "140 characters doesn't equal staying in touch."
Other ads feature copy such as "Upgrade from a wall post to a first class conversation", "When did LOL replace the sound of laughter?" and "Your one-way ticket back to humanity."
Pereira & O'Dell's inspiration for the campaign came from internal research showing the decreasing regularity with which individuals reach out to family and friends with a phone call, a phenomenon that isn't exactly surprising given the popularity of social networking services and text messaging today.
"It was depressing," Pereira & O'Dell's Justin Cox told AdAge.
But the agency found a perfect outlet for its research with Skype, which was quick to embrace a campaign that centered on making "bold statements" in an effort "to grab people's attention and get them to think about how they communicate."
So will the $2m campaign work? The company, which Microsoft purchased last year for $8.5bn, certainly hopes so. But it isn't going to rely entirely on a message about the state of interpersonal communication in its effort to woo consumers.
According to AdAge, the "It's Time for Skype" campaign will eventually morph into something less provocative, focusing in on features that many consumers may not know Skype offers, such as screen sharing and instant messaging. With this in mind, it's clear that while Skype may really want you to pick up the virtual phone and call your parents, it won't be too upset if you cop out and send them an IM instead -- as long as you're using Skype, of course.