Yes, Verizon, there really is a Santa Claus. And, miracle of miracles, he brought us a phone that does everything!
December 22, 2008
There’s always one commercial that defines holiday advertising overkill. For me, the honor goes to the above ditty from Verizon. By virtue of the spot’s ubiquity and intrusiveness, it has become part of the gaudy commercialization of Christmas. Mine anyway. Like Salvation Army Santa, the commercial is everywhere, clanging away, driving me crazy. It’s not that it’s a terrible advertisement, like, for instance, Toyota’s infamous “Saved by Zero.”
“Saved by Zero” is in a league by itself, almost certainly the worst National ad campaign of 2008.
To be fair, the Verizon spot does a decent job of conveying its message; in this case, a phone that does myriad things backed by a big, reliable network.
However tired as that message is, this particular spot delivers it well enough. A man keeps unwrapping the same gift (a phone), revealing it to be a GPS, MP3 and so on. The final attribute is the Verizon Network “backing him up.” What irks me are the characters in the commercial, first and foremost the bespectacled jerk off, who, for some reason, has become the company’s mascot. “Can you hear me now?” Yes. Now please shut up. Seriously, does anyone in America relate to this guy? Like Subway’s Jared, he has become the face for the brand. Unlike Jared, he did nothing whatever to earn it. In this commercial he is merely a supporting actor, appearing at the end, a bug.
However, it’s the spot’s principal that makes and breaks this commercial. The husband character is the personification of irritating. Not an ass, he’s just cloying. I can’t explain it. His hair. His wardrobe. His acting. Does this man (and, in turn, Verizon) really think a phone that downloads music is that damn amazing? Does anyone? In the end, his over-joyousness at getting a PDA makes me twitch.
Other runners-up for this dubious Xmas honor can be found amidst the battling jewelry campaigns for Jareds, Kay Jewelers and Zales. In the end, the spot featuring a deaf girl and her boyfriend grates most. Congratulations Kay Jewelers, you’re my runner up for most annoying commercial of the year!