Behind the Scenes with Cincinnati Bell

Feb 05, 2018

Cincinnati’s fastest, most reliable, most neighborly provider has so much hometown pride, it makes them rhyme.

What It Means to Be a Neighbor

If you tuned in to the big game this weekend, chances are you caught Cincinnati Bell’s lyrical, quirky call-out to the Queen City in the sea of new ads gracing your TV screen. If you missed it, you don’t have to miss out—check out the full 60-second spot below.

We sat down with our curious creatives Matt Cragnolin and Lee Taylor to get the details on what went into bringing Bell’s passion for the people of Cincinnati to life. Lee explains how it all started as an extension of the brand’s current campaign, “To Be a Neighbor.”

“Unlike national Internet providers, like Spectrum, Cincinnati Bell knows how to best service the Tri-State area because their employees are from the Tri-State area,” he says. “Cincinnati Bell is Internet service for Cincinnatians, built by Cincinnatians, and we think that's what makes them special.”

He adds, “It’s about saying, ‘We’re not like the national telecom providers that you’re used to, and that’s because we’re local and the people who work for us also live next door to you, go to the same ball games and like the same bars. We’re people you can relate to.’”

1 City, 20 Locations, 4 Days

So, to truly capture everything great about Cincinnati, the team took to the streets to shoot at 20 locations across the city in the span of four days. How, exactly, did they do it?

“First, we scouted a huge list of locations,” Matt explains. “We aimed to represent as wide a range of neighborhoods as we could, but we had to fit the shoot into four days, so the distance from one location to the next had to be relatively close. After all, we'd need to move two motorhomes and dozens of people—including production crew, agency, client, talent (Bell employees) and extras.”

“We then worked with our clients to pair up the employees with locations that represented the neighborhoods they call home. Working around the schedules and availabilities of 20 busy individuals, while attempting to find and secure 20 locations? Not difficult at all! A total breeze! Luckily, everyone was really excited to participate, and it came across in their performances.”

Lee adds, “We mixed in a few Cincy landmarks to show off the city in the best way possible, but we wanted to also pull in some things that only the locals know, like the pastel houses in Northside that are so great.”

“Another thing would be Western Bowl on the West Side,” he continues, “the Florence Y’all water tower, which is a quirky landmark with an interesting backstory. Jungle Jim’s and the American Sign Museum were some of my favorite shots because of the vibrant shots and colors.

“In general, we were trying to convey that the people of Cincinnati Bell are also the people who make up this great city of Cincinnati. And we did that by filming people in their areas of town that they’re from that the locals really know and love.”

Pro Tip: “Keep it Real”

Matt and Lee’s advice for brands looking to create a standout spot during the next big game: Connect with your audience in a genuine way.

“Make sure it’s from an authentic place,” Lee says. “This spot was all about showing real employees and making it all real, down to shooting people near where they lived, in the neighborhoods they lived in—not all shoots and productions would go to that length.”

“Curiosity and Bell have a strong history together,” Christi Cornette, Cincinnati Bell’s Senior VP of Marketing says. “We were thrilled to take on this project together and even more thrilled with the final result. Cincinnati Bell cares deeply about providing excellent, reliable service to our hometown, and I think that message came across beautifully here.”

A huge thank you goes out to those who helped bring the vision to life: the spot’s director, Dave Morrison; producer, Cindy Bashore; production/post production company, Lightborne Communications; and music composer, Rob Fetters.

And finally, thank you to Cincinnati Bell—you brought a group of incredible, passionate people together to make something memorable and meaningful for the city you serve, and we admire every member of your team for it. As always, we’re so grateful to have the honor of helping to share your story.

For more of Curiosity’s creative and cultural adventures, visit our blog.