Dad is a hamster, voiced by Andrew Dice Clay. One son, played by new Saturday Night Live cast member Kyle Mooney, is supposed to be at college, except he's home most of the time. Another son is an eccentric drawn to scrapbooking and ventriloquism. The sole daughter speaks only in French. Mom is actually normal (i.e., exceptional by being unexceptional). The family is mostly white, except Grandpa is black. And let's not even get into their motley group of friends.
Sprint's new ad family (or rather, "framily"), the Frobinsons, created by Figliulo&Partners, are even more diverse and inclusive than your average Honey Maid family. They're a lot more peculiar, though—and no wonder. They're based partly on the multi-species Shitaro family (in which Dad is a dog) from Japan's famously quirky yet beloved ads for Softbank, which acquired Sprint last year.
Sprint breaks two launch spots (see both below) on Monday night. The new theme will be "Happy Connecting." The question is, will U.S. viewers be as open to such self-conscious weirdness as the Japanese have been?
"The American family has changed. Our families today are more than our relatives, but also our friends, our neighbors—basically all the people we love," Sprint CMO Jeff Hallock says in a statement. "So we created a product to give the new American family the flexibility and value they need from a wireless plan, brought to life through the Frobinsons. Our campaign acknowledges that we all have families that are unique with interesting personalities. It's a fun, lighthearted look at one group going through life as one big, happy Framily."
"The Frobinsons are a typical American family. They are a strange mix of individuals that care very deeply about each other and we wanted to create a group of characters that are familiar and very unique at the same time," adds Mark Figliulo, who opened Figliulo&Partners last fall and signed Sprint as his first client after leaving TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York. "We know that people are happiest when they are connected to the people and things they care about most. That's why everything we do ends on a beginning: Happy Connecting."
The first two spots are basically trailers for what will be an episodic story over the next several months, featuring various celebrity cameos. It's certainly an ambitious approach. And while it seems obvious to say so, a lot will depend on the execution. If the spots are well written, the characters will come to life and the premise will quickly seem endearing; if not, the work could just as quickly be in trouble.
But the client seems excited about it, and clearly has faith in Figliulo—or should we say, fraith in Frigliulo. It should be an interesting ride.
Brand Agency: Figliulo&Partners
Chief Creative Officer: Mark Figliulo
Creative Directors: Jonathan Mackler, Joe Ventura
Art Director: Craig Duffney
Copywriter: Jim Lemaitre, Allon Tatarka
Account Executive(s): Judith Carr-Rodriguez, Dena Graham
Planning: Caroline Krediet
Head of Production: Robert Valdes
Producer(s): Katherine Cheng
Art Producer: Carly Chappell
Print Production: Sarah Whinnem
Business Affairs: Samantha Norvin
Digital Agency: DigitasLBi
Creative Directors: Lewis McVey
Art Director: Keith Henneman, Christine Monahan
Copywriter: David Shih, Nate Winter
Project Manager(s): Courtney Klein, Matt Hill
Account Executive(s): Davin Power, Alex Raymond, Caitlin Kelly, Cristin Jordan
Planning: Mark Kirby
Business Affairs: Dan Simonetti, Wilmien Blake
Technology: Tony Bailey, Paul Nagorney, Nathan Dill, Angie Khumdee
Media Agency: SMG
Media Spend: TBC
Media team: Terry Whitney, Tracy Reimers, Debbie Hutchings, Bridget Scanlan, Kandace Barker
Photographer/Designer: Emily Shur with Giant Artists
Production Company: Imperial Woodpecker
Director: Stacy Wall
Director of Photography: John Lynch
Executive Producer: Charlie Cocuzza
Line Producer: Betsy Oliver
Editing House: The Whitehouse
Editor: Lisa Gunning
Producer: Nick Crane
Music: Home Sweet Home/Motley Crew
Composer: Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx
Audio Mix: Sound Lounge NY
Home Sweet Home performed by Tatyana Richaud in "Framily Portraits"
Home Sweet Home arrangement for "Meet The Frobinons": Lee Wall
Mixer: Tom Jucarone
Dad's vo: Andrew Dice Clay
Chuck: Kyle Mooney