Once again, Steve Harvey is apologizing. But this time, he’s not asking forgiveness for anything that he has said or done. Instead, he’s the spokesman for T-Mobile.
In December 2015, Verizon released a new television commercial. Verizon used colored balls to represent their statistics alongside those of AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. In each category, Verizon illustrates how they ultimately top all of their competitors, especially T-Mobile.
T-Mobile retaliated by releasing an ad during the Super Bowl 50.
Here, T-Mobile blatantly corrects Verizon.
Steve Harvey, the host of Family Feud and a famous comedian, stars in the ad. Recently, during the Miss Universe competition, Harvey mistakenly crowned Miss Columbia, CNETreported, when in fact Miss Philippines had won the award. Thankfully, Harvey was able to avoid a lawsuit from Miss Columbia and apologized profusely. According to The Inquisitr, Harvey told Miss Columbia in person that he did not intentionally crown the wrong contestant for publicity or any other reason; rather, it was a genuine mistake.
Even though T-Mobile released a separate ad featuring Drake, Steve Harvey was the main show. For the rest of the night, T-Mobile handed their Twitter account over to Harvey.
Harvey, of course, has taken everything like a champ. Being a host and a comedian, you have to be prepared to take things in stride. Since the premiere of the commercial, Harvey has been posting for T-Mobile on Twitter and has been having a lot of fun with it.
— T-Mobile (@TMobile) February 8, 2016
Obviously, he’s moving on (but still retains a hint of humbled admittance in the face of his media mess-up).
As far as Super Bowl ads go, it is an intriguing marketing strategy (especially for wireless carriers). Instead of tugging at heartstrings or trying to be empathetic to the lives of the public, T-Mobile brings the public in their realm in a unique but arguably successful way.
T-Mobile decided not to appeal to the emotion or the nostalgia of their viewers. Instead, they focused on media themed ads, from the sound stage for their Drake commercial to the involvement of a famous TV show host for their second ad.
The tendency for carriers to appeal to emotion is exemplified in the recent marketing strategy by Verizon: the “Better matters” campaign.
Both ads hit home. The first reminds us of all of life’s disappointments. It tells us that slow wireless should not be one of them. The second ad, of course, is purely entertaining, nostalgic and attention-grabbing.
Verizon’s statistical ball graph commercial strayed from this trend to a certain degree. They wanted it to stand out and apparently it worked.
The ad caught the attention of viewers and potential clients as well as other carriers, including T-Mobile.
T-Mobile’s press release on January 21, 2016, addressed the ad and the statistical miscalculations of Verizon. They explained that Verizon had based their information on a test that they funded rather than a test performed by a non-affiliated, unbiased source.
“If you’ve turned on a TV, radio or seen pretty much any advertising in the universe in the last couple weeks, you can’t have missed Verizon’s ‘balls’ ad in which Big Red ‘explains‘ its network using an outdated test it helped fund—which – surprise, surprise – found Verizon’s network to be the only one worth considering.”
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 1, 2016
In the press release, T-Mobile announced that they would begin the #BallBusterChallenge.
“T-Mobile is […] inviting Verizon customers to take the challenge and see T-Mobile’s rapidly expanding network in action side by side with Verizon. The Challenge will travel across the country to cities large and small to challenge Verizon’s network head on, testing data speeds, texting and calls.”
This was a good move for T-Mobile. However, with Super Bowl 50 fast approaching, the company decided to take it a step further.
On January 29, T-Mobile released a teaser for their Super Bowl ads. The main point? That they were prepared to aggravate their competitors. And with an ad like that, they may just have done it.
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