The Battle of the Brands

Author: Blake Hodges 

Our parents and grandparents saw the commercial battle between Coco Cola and Pepsi. Our generation has seen a similar battle but with different combatants and more of them. A few months ago we saw an obnoxious amount of commercials with animated spheres rolling down a slide with Verizon initially claiming they were God’s gift to the cellular world. This was followed by a response from the other phone companies and this is only one of many battles between phone carriers. However, one phone company is finally realizing how to utilize their advertising.


            It’s 2016 and Sprint has finally turned their sails with the wind rather than against it. Sprint has shaken up the ad game with their recent run of ads with Paul Marcarelli. Paul use to bat for the Verizon team, yet he is now knocking home runs continuously for Sprint.


            Many people would think that the flip-flop of the cellular game’s most well known catch phrase from one carrier to another would be enough of a shock. I’ll tip my marketing hat to Sprint for this savvy move, but stealing Paul from the Verizon team is not the genius of this ad. The brilliance of this ad is steamed from the admission by Paul that Sprint isn’t better than Verizon.


            Go back in your mind and think about cellular ads that weren’t the most recent Sprint ads. If you think through every ad you’ve seen, I can guarantee you something. Every single cellular ad says this phrase in one form or another at some point in the commercial: “We are the best network.”


            This line isn’t uttered in this commercial though. Instead Paul says, “guess what, it’s 2016, and every network is great. In fact, Sprint’s reliability is now within 1% of Verizon.” This line of pure transparency grabbed my attention and millennials’ attention around the nation. Fortune reports that 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content. The millennial view has spent so many years listening to false, outlandish claims that this moment of honesty caught their attention.  Needless to say, millennials value honesty from a brand and a company admitting they are not the best network is the definition of authenticity. However, Sprint is better in price and millennials are actually paying attention in this ad and giving it consideration since they were greeted with authenticity at the start of the ad.


            While one admission of being 1% lower in quality will not immediately bring a rushing flood of millennials into the doors of Sprint stores nationwide, this is a start. Watch as this campaign continues and it shall be interesting to watch how much Sprint’s sales increase over the coming months, as they are the first cellular company to stumble upon a great commercial targeted at the buyer group with the highest amount of buyer power.