I don’t just hate the ad because I despise the mean and insufferable wife and loathe the milquetoast, pansy husband. I hate the ad because it is not only flawed (I will get to that in a minute), but is another in a recent scourge that would seem to have no target audience whatsoever.
I cannot imagine a single average American male watching that ad and saying, Oh cool! I should sign up for unlimited messaging! I would guess that, like me, they are instead blurting out profanities directed at Mr. Milquetoast’s wife.
And I would like to think that there aren’t a whole lot of average American women aligning themselves with the insufferable wife (even though I know that women are supposed to the the target audience).
However, my presupposition means that the latest glot of male-bashing ads on TV aren’t actually working on female consumers. Maybe they are and the joke’s on me.
But I would still like to think that ads that pit people against each other, depict family dysfunction or use cruelty (in a humorless way) cannot possibly be successful. There’s nothing cute about the ad. There’s nothing fun. It’s really a mini-story about a marriage that is crumbling in a bad economy and two people that actually despise each other. Nothing in that premise makes me want to grab my (ATT service) phone and enroll in unlimited messaging. It only makes me swear at the woman when I am watching live TV and hit the fast forward when I am happily watching something I DVRed.
Oh yes, and the flaw:
The husband says he signed the whole family up for mobile-to-mobile minutes. The wife berates him for not asking her and for being so stupid as to spend money on something like that (when they are apparently having a bad time in this forever recession). The husbands response — he says, they were free. I got them when I signed us up for unlimited messaging. For all of one second the wife looks moderately embarrassed for the way she responded to him. Then the voice-over tells us blah, blah, blah about ATT’s plan.
Why didn’t she say, Well…how much did the unlimited messaging cost??
After all, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t free.