Time to ax Verizon guy Paul for Sprint?

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

20 March 2017

I’d keep him if he meant anything for the Sprint brand. But he doesn’t.

What you saw over the weekend in the NCAA Tournament. The ACC taking a big dump. Verizon running a new campaign around a spokesman trying to get to a mic drop. And old Verizon guy Paul showing up last night mocking that same ad for Sprint.

Damn. Sprint’s really putting it to Verizon. Here’s the Verizon ad, then the one Sprint put together in an impressive rush.

“In fact, the campaign would only create true preference if Sprint’s brand meant something that went along with the aggressive strategy.”

I applauded the strategy when Sprint first unveiled Verizon guy Paul switching teams. So few brands directly attack competitors. It was refreshing to see.

So many brands worry that sticking their necks out means it’ll incite anger. (That’s the point!) They run scared from being aggressive. Taking Verizon guy Paul and demonstrating that Sprint was a cheaper alternative for the same service was a kind of genius.

I still hold that thought but it has a short shelf life if your brand doesn’t mean anything. Not only does Sprint mean nothing, nor do any of the competitors. None of the phone carriers sport preference beyond price and packaged deals. What does being an AT&T subscriber mean? What does it mean to be with Verizon? T-Mobile? Sprint, for that matter?

Verizon guy Paul does little for the Sprint brand

Sprint reports that its number of new subscribers during 2016 fourth quarter beat AT&T and Verizon. But I expect that to ebb. You can’t build a brand based on saying, “We’re the same as Verizon.” Eventually, the strategy will wear itself out.

In fact, the campaign would only create true preference if Sprint’s brand meant something that went along with the aggressive strategy. If the brand meant something different and better. If the BRAND meant aggressive.

Right now, it just means: Cell phone carrier. With low prices and basically the same service as everyone else. Big deal.

Eventually, audiences will tire of Verizon guy Paul saying, “Can you hear me now?” for Sprint. Then they will see him as a traitor because there’s no connection between him and Sprint. In fact, it may already be happening.

Time to move on, Sprint, and focus on your brand. Not on Verizon.

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