While I can be a huge fan of extremely clever and well-made advertising (they’re like little thirty-second or sixty-second movies!), I am most definitely NOT a fan of having my intelligence insulted by advertising.
Today’s case in point – the new AT&T ads for their internet services. The first one is here, if you wish to expose yourself to it. The second is worse. We’re praying that there aren’t any more, but given how long their previous incredibly stupid ad campaign ran, I wouldn’t bet on it.
We get it. We’re all addicted to the internet and it’s inconvenient when it goes down. Your service is supposed to be more reliable than everyone else.
Are we supposed to make the personal connection to the family in the ad? Because, c’mon! They’re simple minded, pathetic, losers, a complete waste of skin and oxygen! Anyone who is freaking out THAT BAD when the internet is down for four minutes needs some serious psychiatric help and probably some pharmaceutical assistance.
Do you really want us associating ourselves with characters that are reduced to turning into Peeping Toms, watching the neighbors through the windows to see what cat videos are being watched, just because the internet’s been down for fifteen minutes?
Do you not see that we are well aware of how sad and meaningless these characters’ lives have become? Do you not think that our first emotional response to your ad is revulsion? With our skin crawling and us grabbing desperately for the remote to change channels EVERY TIME one of these ads comes on, do you really think that we’ll want to utilize your services?
It gets worse.
Their big tag line at the end is that AT&T’s services (which of course you’re going to be dying to use because you’re so impressed with that family of mundane morons) is that the AT&T internet service is 99.9% reliable. Imagine that! 99.9%! Three whole nines!!
Except – we can do 3rd grade math. 24 hours a day times 365.25 days a year is 8,766 hours a year. If AT&T’s service is 99.9% reliable, then it’s unreliable and down (thus turning you into our aforementioned family of freaks) 0.01% of the time.. That’s 87.66 hours a year, over three and a half days a year, that their service is down. Right?
I’m no huge fan of Time-Warner Cable, but here in our area they’re down two or three times a year, for a couple of hours or so each. That’s maybe six hours, seven hours a year?
So AT&T is advertising that they’re 99.9% reliable? How about advertising that they’re ten times as unreliable as Time-Warner Cable? (Hey, they’re their numbers, not mine!)
I guess that might not sound as good. But don’t worry, we’ll spin it the right way and get away with it because people are morons, right?
Good work, whatever ad agency thought up this one! Next time, hire a third grader to double check your math.