You know how Samsung sometimes resorts to questionable humor and low blows in its generally entertaining anti-Apple publicity stunts, while Cupertino always takes the high road and never responds to its arch-rival’s ironies?
Until a few days ago, we thought Verizon was seeking to employ a similarly diplomatic and defensive advertising strategy, outright ignoring Sprint and T-Mobile’s increasingly derogatory campaigns. But busting Big Red’s balls must have awakened the sleeping giant, which went on the counter-offensive on Friday with a pair of 30-second commercials starring none other than Ricky Gervais.
The multiple Emmy-winning actor, writer, producer and director of such TV hits as “The Office”, “Extras” and “Derek” has most recently made a name for himself as the self-deprecating, refreshingly candid, loud, foul-mouthed host of the Golden Globes.
Gervais tries hard to come off as sincere in these new adverts, possibly too hard, and though he does make a couple of good points, there’s something about his endorsement of America’s largest wireless carrier that feels inherently wrong.
It might be the fact that we typically associate his brand of humor with underdogs. Or perhaps Steve Harvey’s excellent self-mockery from the Super Bowl is still too fresh in our memory. Lastly, yes, maybe other networks also stretch the truth, but as T-Mo proved back in January, Verizon does it best.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the coverage map jab is clearly directed at Sprint, whereas the Kansas City speed joke could just as well target Magenta as the Now Network.
We liked you better when you promoted Netflix in Australia, Ricky!