AT&T’s Subliminal Car Crash Commercials.

I Don't See a Phone.

Internet/Cable/Phone ads remind me of political mudslinging.  They have no positive effect.  I just end up hating them all. Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, even Cricket.  I hate all those commercials.  If you want to know how much a product sucks, go watch their competition’s commercial.  They are always using specially worded phrases (somehow all cable providers have the most HD channels), and finding the tiniest ways to show any superiority.  As if anyone really knows what the “G,” in 4G stands for, or what it really means.  And, exactly how fast do you need to download your YouTube videos?  If a video can load in the time it takes me to watch it–that’s fast enough.

Anyway, this brings me to AT&T’s “talk and surf” campaign.  It’s been around for a while, but it took me some time to work up the appropriate level of anger.  The idea behind the commercials is that you can talk on the phone and use your phone’s browser at the same time.  You can not do that on Verizon’s network.  Shocking, right?  Everyone back from the Apple Store?  Ok.  I understand phone addiction.  I really do.  I use my Blackberry WAY too much, but I have to draw the line at “talk and surf.”  I have no need for that.  And, I think that is the natural reaction to such a feature.  Who wants to be surfing during a phone call?  How much ADD can you cram into one being?  And why haven’t we come up with a better term than “surfing the internet.”

Naturally, AT&T’s response to your natural lack of interest is to put out commercials showing critical moments where the “talk and surf,” feature saves someone’s proverbial bacon.  They can’t show the actual market for this feature.  It would be someone pissing their entire day away.  Someone involved in a conversation so pointless that the only way to keep it going was to be scanning TMZ at the same time.  Or perhaps the real enticement is another way to distract people while driving. Why text and drive when you can talk, surf and drive?  Think of the reduced reaction time!  But, no one wants to admit they are that person, we are all productive citizens and this AT&T feature is only for the busiest and most productive among us.

Their first ad was a play on the storied, “guy forgets his anniversary,” cliché.  I find these ads to be offensive to begin with, because can’t we do a little better than the whole, “Haha–guys are stupid,” angle?  But, AT&T is committed to going to that well.  So, the guy is at work.  His wife (girlfriend? who knows) calls and asks about making reservations for their big night. The guy hasn’t done it.  Ooooh, a twist!  So, what else is there to do but to throw the old wifey on speaker phone and hit Open Table during the convo?  AT&T saves the world!  What does this advertisement ignore?  The fact that this guy is apparently working in the only office in America that doesn’t have a computer hooked up to the internet.  I think what AT&T is really saying is, “Psst.  You could use this in your car.  Wink, wink.”

That was the only non-waste of life commercial that AT&T’s people could think of.  That was the only practical, real world use for the “talk and surf” feature.  The newest commercial features a chick sitting on her couch, calling into radio trivia contests and winning untold bounties by listening to the question and looking up the answer at the same time.  Again, this woman apparently lives in a house without a computer.  Or, if she really wanted to rock it old school she could call the station on a land line and look up the answer on her smart phone.  But, the question is, really?  This is your market?  Trivia contest hoarders?

Can’t we agree that the “talk and surf,” feature is the cell phone equivalent of the Swiss Army toothpick?  Yes, it’s a feature, but it is totally useless.  It’s the knife set phenomenon.  Oh, I got a 5-piece knife set.  Well, actually you got a 3-piece knife set, because they count the block and that sharpening thing that no one knows how to use.  I’m just really disappointed in AT&T.  They used to stand for something.  Reach out and touch someone.  Anyone?  I mean, what would Peeper think?



6 thoughts on “AT&T’s Subliminal Car Crash Commercials.

  1. job well done. i have to say, i got a lil nostalgic seeing that commercial.
    ya know, there’s a song they play on XTU, not like listen…

    line goes (i swear it, i swear i know this one line):
    i miss the days when wind was all that blew,
    when crack was only what happens with a jokes,

    ya know…those days.

    gosh, now i feel old.

  2. I’ve spent several minutes this morning laughing to myself at the thought of ad people sitting around a table thinking of what nickname to call the kid. Someone throws out, Peeper? And, everyone is like, YES!

    eat your heart out, Don Draper.

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