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Insight Spots Get Personal

Insight Communications, which has been reinforcing the image of a caring, local company in a series of branding spots since January 2006, serves up an homage to the NBC hit The Office with its latest set of promos.

The branding messages, created in-house, feature the company's own employees acting out scenarios reminiscent of the workplace comedy. In one spot, the benefits of digital phone, such as unlimited local and long-distance calling, are discussed at a staff meeting. A female staffer asks for repeated clarifications.

“So, someone could talk to L.A. for hours?” she asks, adding later, “So someone could talk for a week, nonstop?”

The meeting leader scoffs, “Who would talk for a week, nonstop?”

The whole room pivots to look at the curious woman. “What!” she responds.

In another spot, a “corporate communications manager” tries to sell employees on a slick marketing acronym to demonstrate that Insight sells more than just cable TV. The workers snub the slick campaign, and the T-shirts the manager has made to publicize it.

Pam Euler Halling, Insight's senior vice president of brand strategy and programming, said the spots highlight the fact that Insight is not a huge company with employees “stashed away in remote corners of the world.”

“They convey what we are: real people,” she said. “We're local, we live here and we're passionate about customer service. Our products are simple to use; and, if not, we're here to help.”

The spots, none of which mention prices or special offers, mark the latest iteration of creative that features employees. Past cycles have included spots focusing on Insight workers' off-the-job hobbies. One memorable commercial starred a tech who dresses like a Viking for battle re-enactments; in another, CEO Michael Willner went door to door, asking customers what else Insight could do for them. It ended with his humorous-but-disastrous attempt to repair a Volkswagen.

The use of employees in place of actors makes the messages less distant and corporate, Euler Halling said. Workers have driven for hours in their own cars to get to a shoot, eager to participate, she added.

The use of employee talent and in-house design also keeps production costs low, she added. Insight contracts with a commercial director, who either writes or outsources a script based on the company's concept. The ads are then shot in high-definition format. The process keeps the per-spot cost at less than $15,000, while retaining a very professional look, she said.

Though commercials for cable companies have recently been turning up on viral video sites such as YouTube, Euler Halling said there are no viral-video plans related to this campaign.