There are plenty of jerks in the world. We know that. But do we really have to make heroes of them in TV commercials? I”m talking to you, Sprint, and Direct TV.
For Sprint, the message in it’s latest campaign appears to be “our customers are insensitive jerks.” In one spot, a self-absorbed woman in a cafe grins as she uses the full range of phone features (Internet, E-mail, calling, texting) to break up with her perfectly nice boyfriend sitting across the table. She gloats at every turn that he shouldn’t worry about it, since it cost her nothing to do it. (Yuk yuk – good one.)
Another spot features an equally obnoxious doctor glibly giving his patient – an athlete – equally bad news.
In Direct TV’s campaign (for NFL Sunday Ticket) people dare to use their mobile phones to watch their favorite team’s games in another team’s territorial waters, and are abused by that team’s fans for doing so. Dishrags are wrung into their drinks at a diner, voodoo dolls are used to inflict physical pain, hostile cabbies dump them in dangerous neighborhoods. (I can hardly stop laughing.)
In THIS lame campaign, the customers aren’t the jerks, they’re the victims. Quite a selling point. Ahhh, but what does that matter when we can pump out more smug, Gen-whatever-it-is attitude.
Both campaigns actually do a decent job of demonstrating the product benefit. I can even imagine selling the concepts to a client. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate to convincing prospective customers,who probably think of themselves as neither jerks nor victims. To paraphrase Luke Sullivan, nothing matters until they like you. And there’s nobody much to like in these gems, though I’d have loved the boyfriend if he had stuck her phone right up her Starbucks.
Yes, I know – they’re just ads.
That’s okay, don’t worry about it. It didn’t cost me anything extra to write this.