It May Be Stupid, But It’s Also Dumb

Don’t suffer from the Sprint Framily syndrome. Common symptoms include “wtf,” “ok?” and “uh-huh…”

When asked about his advertising strategy, celebrated marketer, and brilliant slogan-ist, Patrick Star, stated, “well maybe it is stupid, but it’s also dumb.” If you recall, Mr. Star is the creator of the vastly viral marketing campaign, “Chum is Fum.”

We should all heed Mr. Star’s advice, and keep it simple, and stupid.  As long as it still “kinda” makes sense.

Sprint’s new marketing campaign, known as “Meet the Frobinson Family,” has decided to take a slightly different approach. Can anyone explain exactly what this commercial is about?



The advertising industry is racing to develop commercials ideally suited for recycling as digital content . My history may be off, but Old Spice was the first one. Or at least the first-best-one. I see this commercial as a turning point in advertising:



This commercial, with its silly premise and attention-grabbing quick-edits, went viral. Quickly. I’d wager as many, or more, people saw this commercial online, than on television.

And since then, every company has tried to replicate its ridiculousness. In today’s digital culture, it’s become more important to create viral content, than quality content. Unfortunately the two are rarely the same.

It’s only a matter of time before companies begin making commercials, in an attempt to pander to the web, specifically about cats…



Sprint is now hopping on the viral bandwagon. Falling significantly behind Verizon and AT&T in customers, they’re throwing an advertising “Hail Mary.”  The problem isn’t that the commercial is dumb and stupid (it is). It’s that the commercial isn’t clear whom they are targeting.

Is Sprint explaining, via the Frobinson family, that any type of person can be on your plan? Probably. But to whom are they attempting to target? Heads-of-households generally make these types of purchases. Are the dynamic characters resonating with these decision-makers? Can they relate to any of them?

Or is Sprint’s goal to simply create a uniquely confusing commercial? When Old Spice made their “Man on a Horse,” commercial, they were targeting two groups. Young males (with humor), and Mom (with a good-looking male actor). These two groups make up the majority of deodorant purchases. Sprint, however, doesn’t seem to be targeting any person in particular. Not the head-of-household. Not Mom. Nor Dad. Not even teenagers.

If anyone, they seem to be targeting social outcasts and outsiders. And how many friends and family will they have to add to their Framily plan?


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