Sex. Cells. And lousy T-Mobile ads.

In Ad Creative on August 5, 2009 at 12:37 am

I recently spouted off a  bit on a couple of the “Chad”  spots for Alltel.  But since it seems like half of all TV advertising these days is for cell phone service providers, I’d like to weigh in on a couple competitive campaigns.

First,  I dearly loved many of the older “Dead Zone” Verizon spots. My favorite was the wonderfully-cast “Bates Motel” parody, where the desk clerk delights in describing the “horrible” wireless conditions, but is ultimately forced to save face with “towels are kinda’ scratchy!” Another spot takes place on a train. In it the conductor, disappointed that the usual Verizon posse has provided good cell service in spite of his warning, threatens them with “I’m gonna need to see some tickets.”

Good concept, good writing, entertaining productions.  Makes the strategic point beautifully – good cell service in places others can’t deliver.

Now let’s shift attention to one of those ‘others’– T’-Mobile (or is it T-and-A-Mobile) with what to me is an embarrassing batch of spots (mis)using Catherine Zeta Jones.  The strategic point of these “Mobile Makeover” spots is not important, or at least it must not be, because it hasn’t thus far managed to register with me.

No, these spots, straight from the 60s, are built around the shocking insight that men like attractive women. The overall concept would appear to come down to this: No one cares about whatever it is T-Mobile is promising, but men, at least, will listen to the sales pitch if a pretty lady is involved.

Personally, I think this campaign is a rare instance in which male viewers will see through that ploy, and be less mesmerized by Jones than the actors in the spots. I think most men, thick-headed Neanderthals though we are, will recognize being talked down to and resent it. Jones isn’t enough to change that.

These spots need a makeover, and fast.

Feel free to disagree. I’ll post your comments no matter how wrong you are.  🙂

  1. Great blog! I couldn’t agree more with your take on the “sex sells” theme being employed in T-Mobile’s ads.

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