Sprint Ad Spreading Fear?

Aug 28, 2013   //   by Peter H   //   critique, Network Development  //  Comments Off

Spreading Fear in Advertising

This was one of the last commercials that bothered me prior to my transfer to Japan. Ever since SoftBank purchased about 80% of Sprint I started to put some attention into Sprint and their challenges competing in mobile. While I see opportunities for Sprint in the US with new ideas coming from Japan via SoftBank, this ad still is a puzzle and I welcome your thoughts as to what the “I Am Unlimited” campaign was trying to accomplish.

Fear Sells

This ad reminds me of what a designer on the MEGA Mall of America project told me. “People get lost, and when they get lost they feel uncertain, when they feel uncertain they buy more.”

So are ads like this deliberately confusing or scaring the consumer to sell more product? If this is the intelligence behind this ad, then at least it makes sense, but I don’t think few will agree it’s right. Certainly the images above create feelings of unease and insecurity and I guess that may translate into people buying a phone? But is this the type of advertising that our culture wants to see? Spreading fear and anxiety to sell products? Personally, what would sell me on a mobile carrier is reliability, honesty, service and price. Boring as hell, but then you don’t get that Baphomet crowd I guess…

Looks Like Baphomet

These images are not accidents and they are very puzzling. One creative told me it looks like “Baphomet”. If you aren’t familiar with Baphomet, as I was not, read up on it and the conspiracies surrounding it. Baphomet is a term originally used to describe a deity supposedly worshipped by the Knights Templar and has a connection to the occult. There is no shortage of current followers apparently but could Sprint really have been trying to communicate to them?

The stills and the ad I think are enough to at least get you to ask with me, “Really Sprint, who are you people?” Or, maybe with the introduction of Japanese leadership from SoftBank, the question is, “Who were you people?”

Here is the full ad. When watched in it’s entirety it’s a bit odd by itself. But do what I did and pause at some of the stills. There are plenty of odd shots that I didn’t include that you can explore for yourself.

Spreading fear in advertising…hmm, I can do that, but as the ultimate warning to man states, “Just because we can do things doesn’t mean we must.”

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