By Edward M. Bury, APR, aka The PRDude
You’re familiar with the television campaign I’m about to discuss; no qualms with the message and what the company is trying to sell, but I do have serious reservations about what’s implied during the 30-spot.
Here’s the scenario: Two guys in their late 20s or early 30s are in a parking lot during a football tailgate. But rather than do the things you’re “supposed” to do prior to game time — drink (usually beer), eat (usually something grilled), make noise (usually about how your team is going to kick the ass of the opponent) and enjoy being with friends (sometimes tossing a football back and forth) — our protagonists are slumped in folding chairs, totally enamored with proving how fast their 4G smart phone services are compared to others.
“That was so 46 seconds ago,” one guy matter-of-factly points out in the first situation. “That was so 12 seconds ago,” he proclaims in a second. And, “That was so 27 seconds ago,” he states in a third. In each instance comes off like a grammar-schooler who boasts, “I know something you don’t know! Yneah, yneah!”
Watch the commercial by clicking here. I don’t even want to publish the name of the advertiser, but it’s company that’s been around for a while. The announcer sums up the sales pitch with this comment: “Stay a step ahead with 4G LTE with speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G.”
Here’s some additional copy posted by the advertiser that accompanied the video, which I found on YouTube. (By the way, YouTube has lots of other videos you can watch for free if you get tired of the one in question.)
“This spot introduces (advertiser’s) 4G LTE and its blazing fast speeds. It celebrates the possibilities that open up to our two hero tailgaters as they are able to connect at (advertiser) 4G LTE speed on the first 4G LTE-enabled smartphone from (advertiser) — the HTC Vivid. Fellow tailgaters approach the main characters, eager to share news about the football game. But with speeds up to 10x faster than 3G, (advertiser’s) 4G LTE has enabled our two tailgaters to find out everything faster, transforming the “breaking news” into something ‘so 42 seconds ago.'”
Okay, Mr. Tailgate Hero, now the gloves come off. So you and your buddy just got some information that totals 85 precious seconds ahead of those of us who rely on 3G service. What that leads me to believe about your character is that you need to find out that there’s more to life than learning some trivial news ahead of every one else.
But from a broader perspective, I came away with these messages:
- We’ve become so enamored, so dependent on technology that we can’t enjoy simple pleasures, like a tailgate party.
- We have to be first! All the time! Even for relatively inconsequential information. First is always best!
- We’re less than others if we don’t have the latest technol0gy, the latest gadget.
- And, is okay — no, it’s cool — to use self-centered, snarky jerks to help sell products and services. For the advertiser to refer to the two guys as “heroes,” even jokingly, is an insult to the men and women in our armed forces, emergency first responders, single moms making a go of it and other true heroes. Add the Lone Ranger and Tonto.
These thoughts should matter to us today — and 46 seconds, and 12 seconds and 27 seconds from now. Take 46, or 12 or 27 seconds and reply with your thoughts.