Wednesday, February 09, 2011

820 Five Little Words

820 Five Little Words

Around this time of year, everyone is agog about the Super Bowl Ads. Which was the best? Which was the worst? Which will you remember? Which will you remember but forget what’s advertised?

This year’s game was the first in a long time that was better than the ads. So the self-induced hype about commercials took a back seat to the players on the field. Amazing!

Most of the votes seem to favor Volkswagen which featured a cute kid in a Darth Vader costume in shock when he made some magical gesture at an empty car and it actually started. (Dad was at the kitchen window with a remote starter, but the kid didn’t see him.)

But there’s a non-Super Bowl ad in circulation now that should get the Subtle Classic Award, though it takes a little bit of pre-knowledge to fully “get.”

It’s from Verizon Wireless and introduces the long-awaited and hoped for arrival of its version of the iPhone, previously licensed exclusively to AT&T, which a major consumer magazine says has the worst phone service in the country.

The iPhone does a lot of things very well. Unfortunately, making and receiving phone calls isn’t one of them. AT&T has more complaints about bad service than most of the other big carriers combined. Dropped calls, difficult to hear, difficult to be received.

Back in the day, Verizon touted the quality and reach of its network with a series of ads that featured the phrase “can you HEAR me now,” usually shouted into a phone by a frustrated user.

The new ad features the Verizon “it’s the network” logo actor, a combination of telephone lineman and tech-nerd holding an I phone to his ear and saying into it very very quietly “I can hear you now.”

Five words that speak volumes.

The arrival of the iPhone puts Verizon in an awkward spot. It has invested gazillions in promoting and selling the competing Android phone, based on a Google operating system. It has invested more gazillions in supporting and promoting the BlackBerry. Now, it has all three “smart” phones. Is that too many? If so, what’ll they do about it.

Shrapnel (Liberal Media Edition):

--Keith Olbermann has landed at Al Gore’s “Current TV.” Anyone receive this channel? If so, what else is on it?

--Arianna Huffington has landed at America On Line, selling her independent website, the Huffington Post for 315 million dollars, all but 15 million in cash. Didn’t someone just call AOL “the place startups go to die”?

--Since the Huff post now is a part of AOL and Tina Brown’s Daily Beast is part of Newsweek, there is a shortage of left-leaning women who write well and have their own websites. Which means it’s time to find a new left-leaning woman who writes well who will start an independent website. Any candidates?

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2011

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