Long Distance Relationships: “Reach Out and Touch Someone”
|September 15, 2010||Filled under International Calling, Long Distance, Trends|
While doing Google keyword research, I noticed a lot of keywords related to long distance relationships–phrases like “long distance dating” and “long distance love poems.” Then I recalled the old commercials and ads that AT&T ran in the late 1970′s and 1980′s using its “reach out and touch someone” slogan. The company successfully communicated that slogan for years in the company’s broadcast commercials, billboards and print advertising.
I remember a time decades ago when you only called outside your city limits when someone in the family died or was very sick. If relatives in Minnesota called me in California, my first gut feeling was “oh, no, something’s wrong–probably a death in the family.” Sound familiar?
Well, N.W. Ayer, one of the oldest advertising agencies in the country at that time, created a theme to help AT&T convince people that calling long distance was easy and fun. It also wanted to soften AT&T’s image from a monolithic telecommunications company to a company that offered personalized communications services.
Flash forward thirty years to the Internet and discover how well the “reach out and touch someone campaign” worked.
“Relationship long distance” and “distance relationship” have the highest monthly hits (243,000).
Other related words: “long distance relationships work” (11,910); “long distance love poems” (9,720); “long distance dating” (7,950); “long distance romantic” (5,280) and a weird one “quotes about long distance love” (only 1,290 people per month search that one).
“Long distance advice” (32,670) must have come from Internet searchers who want information about choosing long distance companies, their latest horoscope or other sage wisdom.”Dating advice” is near the top (245,970) along with “love advice” (109,980), “marriage advice” (73,980) and “relationship advice for women” (9,870).
Want more? How about “free relationship advice,” “online relationship advice” (2,880) for people who prefer using the Internet and, sorry fellas, “long distance relationship advice for guys” clocking in at only 180 searches a month.
Business long distance (73,980) produced “cheap calls to” (200,970), “business VoIP” (134,970), “unlimited long distance” (27,090) , “wireless long distance” (14,760), “small business long distance” (6,570) and “dialing long distance” (61,320).
Clearly, from the dawn of long distance, AT&T and other telephone companies were trying to convince consumers and businesses that telephone calls were more personalized and effective means of communicating with loved ones and business associates. Just as it took cell phone companies years to convince 85% of the American population they couldn’t live without a mobile phone, selling long distance to the public was challenging.
Today the wireless carriers face a different challenge: convincing Americans to “connect with friends,” using their mobile phones, on social media sites and paying for accessing the mobile Internet.
In a sense, it’s the same challenge. Mobile data plans, once expensive, have now dropped in price. However, bundling voice and data plans have helped the carriers convince cell phone users of the necessity to “reach out and touch someone,” this time via text messaging, emails, social networking sites and chat rooms. Extending human relationships is now achieved through both voice and data. Only the communications device–mobile phones–has changed.