Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More Bars In More Places...For More Idiots

These new AT&T commercials rankle me.

You know the ones. Some guy is in a foreign country, about to have a very important meeting (usually business-related), and he doesn’t get the most earth-shattering voicemail of his life from his boss because he doesn’t have AT&T. Some marketing genius, or probably some marketing genii, or even more probably some marketing genii and some market focus group(s), thought this would entice us idiots to buy more AT&T cellular phones.

Has anyone out there actually purchased an AT&T phone directly in response to these commercials? If so, you’ve just been duped by this brilliant one-two marketing pitch:

a) At some point, you’ll be in an area with bad service, and when you are,
b) that’s when you’ll miss the most important phone call/voicemail of your life.

Yes. And to make matters worse, said would-be message deliverer, KNOWING FULL WELL THAT YOU’RE IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY OR SOMEWHERE ELSE WHERE THERE’S A GOOD CHANCE YOU WON’T GET RECEPTION FOR THE CALL, will just leave you this life-changing voicemail, expect you to get it, and go on about his business. He won’t try to reach you by other means, and he won’t follow-up to ensure you received the message.

Do you know how small the chances of this happening are? How many times will this ever happen to most people in their life? Once, maybe. Or twice if you have my luck.

So by all means, buy AT&T. Because you need to allow for the incredibly non-fortuitous, disastrous event that has .01% chance of happening. (I did the math for you.)

What’s more insulting—the marketing pitch itself, or the fact that they thought they could entice you with it?

Speaking (obliquely) about intelligent consumer spending, this reminds me of another commercial I saw, promoting LifeLock. At some point in the ad, one potential customer wants to sign up because LifeLock promises to cut down on your junk e-mail. Yeah. Let’s pay someone to do that for us. Great idea.

I’m really not an angry person…


Jenna said...

While I see your point, I should admit, right from the beginning, that I actually like some of these commercials! That being said, I think that your logic is fatally flawed because you fail to acknowledge and deal with the weaknesses in your position. Case in point: What about the AT&T "more bars in more places" commercials that do not deal with life-altering situations surrounding business/employment? I can think of several off the top of my head - the Dad who is checking cars in the make-out spot for his daughter because he hasn't received her text about staying at a friend's house, the girl who is on the lousy date with a smelly guy and hasn't received the call about something better to do. You see my point - while some of the commercials utilize extremely unlikely scenarios to suggest why you should AT$T, just as many use common situations that might come up in our lives. Until you address those commercials, your argument is weaker than it could be. Yes, I took this much more seriously than it was ever meant to be taken.

Brian O'Rourke said...

Could this be the first ever husband and wife argument on a blog? :) :)

This feels good. Maybe this is a friendly, safe environment to work out our differences. Just kidding ;)

Brian O'Rourke said...

Dear Wife,
I see your point about ignoring the other commercials. In all fairness, though, I've only seen those other commercials once or twice, compared to the scores of times I've seen the other ones.
As always, your attention to detail far surpasses mine ;)

Jenna said...

Dearest husband --
Don't forget that AT&T now has some new commercials on that are seasonally appropriate - something about defrosting your turkey before you deep fry it.

The insanity of the LifeLock commercials, however, knows no bounds. The idea of signing up for a service because you would be protected from identity theft - ok, I can see it (although I would prefer to just shred bills and occasionally check my credit report, but that's just me). The premise of paying for a service because you get less junk mail delivered to your house: un-flipping-believable. But yes, they use that in their commercial. A woman actually says "less junk mail, sign me up!" and I feel horribly sorry for her that she's so excited about having fewer catalogs to toss in the garbage each day.

Brian O'Rourke said...

Also, didn't I just hear that LifeLock was being sued for (figures) some enormous amount of money because someone's identity was compromised?

I wonder what kind of insurance premiums that company had to before this lawsuit, and what they're going to have to pay after.