19 June 2007

Virgin Mobile's 'You Rule' Ads Declared A Huge Failure

By the time The Times picks up on an urban story, it's usually doomed or dead. Not unlike "Saturday Night Fever" and disco; that movie came out, summarized the era and killed it, all within 2 entertaining hours.

From Gawker: (sic)

"Now that every local blogger (us included) and even The Times has huffed and puffed about the smug, insensitive Virgin Mobile "You Rule" New York neighborhood ads (Murray Hill? No.), it's about time a smug, insensitive ad blogger blustered a bit."

Well, I didn't think they were insensitive, I think New Yorkers should have tougher skin than that, I just thought the ads were cheap and a bit hamfisted. I mean, talking about "baked ziti" in the Staten Island one or tiptoeing around the obvious in the Chelsea ad, it was just so unclever and sort of bargain basement with its lack of subtlety. Whoever designed them certainly thought they had come up with the most clever campaign ever, theres no doubt in my mind, but being smashed over the head with an anvil playing off every single tired stereotype is just so predictable and uninspired. Shame on you NYU grads!

Read on my brother, read on.........................

"Virgin Mobile's campaign—created by a North Carolina ad agency—has managed to piss off people in all five boroughs thanks to copy like this for Staten Island residents:

"Thank you for being our down-to-earth, suburban, predominantly Italian-American cousins. To show our gratitude, we've got something for you. No, not baked ziti--cell phone plans without annual contracts..."
And this, for Bedford Stuyvesant inhabitants:

"Do or Die is more than a moniker. It speaks to the fact that you don't take crap from anyone. Especially newcomers who want to change Bed-Stuy into some sort of yuppie strip mall."
Also, remarkably, an ad in the campaign extolling Upper West Siders and making fun of the Upper East Side was mistakenly placed in UES locations.

So, yes the ads suck. But even if the Tar Heel copywriter had magically stumbled upon the perfect words that made every Gotham resident perfectly happy, the ads would still suck. Why? Replace Virgin Mobile's logo with a Nike, Chase, Bud, Gawker, Trump or T-Mobile logo and, besides a slight copy tweak, nothing would have to be changed. The campaign lacks anything that ties it inexorably to Virgin Mobile—it could be for anybody and about anything. 'You rule! Buy this ___ to rule more.'

I questioned a couple of ad acquaintances who had seen the ads. One remembered them being for Verizon and the other couldn't remember who they were for. If I had the time and if Gawker actually paid me, I think a larger sampling would be just as telling. Nobody remembers the product. "

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