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Verizon Ads – On A Magic Bucket Ride

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This series takes a candid look at the advertising being crammed onto your television screens and into your heads. Is it really good advertising, or just wasting a commercial break? Reader suggestions are always welcome.

Verizon is part of the Big Boy's Club (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Alltel) when it comes to the venue of wireless communications. They are probably most well known for the clever but eventually annoying "Can You Hear Me Now?" campaign whose bespectacled head geek has now transitioned into "That's My Network" without losing any of his horn-rimmed charm.

However, Verizon (just like the other BBC members) is not just about wireless phone service. They also offer television (through a contract with Direct TV) and high-speed Internet service. Logically, they must also advertise these facets of their service to make sure people know about them.

Unfortunately, their attempts at bringing attention to their high-speed Internet service by being clever have wound up leaving me not wanting their service, but rather wanting their ads to go away.

This was again a difficult video to find, but most of you have seen this "I'm Just a Guy In a Bucket" silliness.

On the first try, Verizon showed a guy struggling with his computer, praying to – God? – to "make this work." All of a sudden, here comes the Verizon technician, lowering himself right through the guy's house to help out (though, if I watched correctly, all the guy was doing was hooking up a USB cable).

The surprised gentleman makes the (rather unnecessary and perhaps even vaguely racist) comment of "I always pictured you with a beard." (Ha, ha. Santa Claus. I get it.)

The technician then proceeds to explain how purchasing Verizon's Internet service would solve all his problems. When the poor, hapless man asks about his error messages, the technician makes them go away with a point of his hand. When the gentleman starts wishing for more, the technician leaves as he says, "I'm just a guy in a bucket."

First, there's the obvious problem of a guy in a cherry-picker showing up in the middle of your stairwell. Then we add on to that the obvious logic of "hey, I can show up out of thin air and fix your computer by waving my hand, but don't make wishes, because I'm nothing more than a guy in a bucket." Uhhh, right, got it.

So, Verizon took another crack at it. This time around, we see a young gentleman sitting at his desk in his high-rise apartment, as his frustration grows towards his laptop for some unknown reason and a repairman tinkers away at his kitchen sink.

Now, I could nit-pick and ask why the plumber needed to take the entire sink out of the counter to work on the piping, but I'm going to leave that alone, because there are bigger, more stupid flaws to choose.

The guy gets so frustrated that he forcefully stands up from his desk, looks over at the repairman (to get his approval?), and then angrily chucks the laptop out of his umpteenth story window.

The repairman continues his "are you nuts?" stare, so the guy says "What? It had a virus." Because yes, obviously, if your laptop PC develops a virus, the first thing you should do is throw it out the window. 

Fortunately for our flustered customer, Bucket Man is conveniently outside and snares the laptop, proceeding back to the apartment to explain to our poor soul that his laptop is fine, and that the solution to his problem would be upgrading to Verizon's high-speed Internet service.

On the bright side, Bucket Man at least came in through the window this time (though on guesstimation alone, by the view in the ad, this apartment was pretty far up the high-rise, and most phone company cherry-pickers don't go that high. Again, I'll leave that one alone, a minor quibble).

Once Bucket Man finishes his spiel, our genius closes by asking "You giving rides?" Which just goes in so many wrong directions. Why is that the question you ask him? Where do you have to go that you would want to travel in the bucket of a phone company truck?

Fortunately, the technician replies with the equally inane "Not today." As if to say no, you can't have a ride today, Timmy, but if you ask me again on Sunday I might be free. Moronic. 

Like I have said before, there's a difference between "smart clever" and "dumb clever." Sadly, these ads aren't even that – they're dumb trying to masquerade as clever. I know you want to grab our attention, Verizon, but there are better ways to do it. This time, I'm definitely not buying it.

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