I’ve complained that Verizon ads are deceitful. I’ve complained that Verizon ads are annoying. I’ve even specifically complained about Verizon’s interactive online advertising. If I weren’t so consistently critical, I’d probably ask them to pay me for all this exposure. So I’m a little surprised at myself for writing about a Verizon ad from a place of constructive criticism rather than the usual “Get off my screen” (he says to Tracy Porter).
That’s because the campaign in question is not historically awful or annoying. It’s for Windows Phone 8 (full disclosure: I have the HTC 8X and it’s beautiful) and the idea behind it is to introduce you to some of the phone’s unique features. In its non-interactive form — e.g. on the television or the versions posted on Youtube — I have nothing to add. It’s just an ad, and the 30-second spots are straightforward and minimally painful:
But online — e.g. during The Daily Show and Colbert, which is primarily where I’ve encountered it — the ad pauses halfway through and asks viewers to click on one of the on-screen phone’s tiles to learn more about the corresponding feature. In theory, this is no more annoying than any of Verizon’s other interactive practices, and certainly less patronizing than the iteration I complained about earlier.
That said, I think Verizon may want to rethink how it presents its prompt:
More specifically, any company trying to push a product plagued by reports of random reboots (full disclosure: I experienced this once, and it was not a big deal; that said, I see how it could have been) should probably reconsider an ad in which the narrator prompts viewers to see “simple inaction”… and then pauses for about ten seconds unless you decide to have mercy and click.
Just a thought.