Social Choices: Hey, Framily – Can You Hear Me Now?!

I’m sitting here watching the most recent episode of The Last Ship OnDemand, and I’ve reached an unremarkable conclusion: I hate the framily – I think I always have.  I hate it so much – it has reached ‘Branjelina’ and ‘Bennifer’ levels of hatred when it comes to portmanteaus in popular culture.  And another thing – does anybody use Sprint?!  Their coverage sucks, they’re based in the middle of nowhere… and their commercials are in the worst of taste. 

Seriously.  From grungy guys begrudgingly accepting huge bearded strangers into their “framily”, to some emo/goth kid that magically appears in your living room and becomes part of your “framily”, to some kid speaking in French to a talking hamster or gerbil or whatever – this is the best they could do?!  Why doesn’t it surprise me that they have a hard time keeping up with their competitors; at least the “can you hear me now” commercials made sense.  These are just senseless thirty second pieces that grate on my nerves.  You’d think a company in distant third would have a better marketing scheme, instead – rumor has it Sprint is set to join forces with fourth place T-Mobile.  Because taking one crappy provider and merging it with an even crappier one is a sterling model for success – wait, even combined the two companies provide service to fewer people than the second-place AT&T.  One would like to see a company struggling to keep up in the already uber-competitive world making better marketing decisions, we just have yet to see it.

My proposal would be for the Sprint and T-Mobile families to look inward before they launch any new marketing campaigns. Improving coverage, increasing availability, and decreasing rates are all be steps they should take – and once those are explored, then… and only then – for the love of all that’s holy – should they explore ways to sell their hopefully much improved product.  

Some ideas we at the MGT have bounced back and forth is that if you’re committed to using the “framily” as your marketing schtick – E.S. Norton suggests going with a Brady Bunch theme to it: it’s still easily recognizable to much of our population, it’s got a catchy tune already, and they’ve got graphics that could help with the whole thing.  I personally hope they move away from the “framily” scheme.  Like I stated above, Verizon’s “Can you hear me now” campaign had some real weight because it was simple and it made sense – it didn’t rely on overly gimmicky commercials, and gave the public an easily recognizable character with a common problem that they could connect to.  Make the new campaign slimmer – simplify it, and focus on one or two things you’ve done that improve your service; your brands are currently trailing #s 1 and 2 by a good margin because they have focused on areas that people cared about: coverage, speed, reliability and cost – and done it better than you.  Focus on one of those, improve and be the best at it… then, don’t let anybody forget it.  Once you’ve done that, find your Geico Gecko or Flo or the Maytag Man to be a spokesperson, and run with it: a single face representing you and what you stand for.  (You might also want to find a way to combat one of the larger ones paying people to drop your plans…  or poach some of their existing business by doing the same.  I’m not saying, I’m just sayin’.) 

All that being said – enough with the framily, please.  I need a break – three commercials in five minutes is a bit much for that hack job of a commercial set.

And now that you’ve used two minutes of your time on this piece – carry on.  But don’t use Sprint until they change their ways.  Seriously.  Because we care.

~ J.T. Riles ~

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