Art Direction, Motion Design & Illustration by Patrick Hosmer

I Totally Saw The Verizon Guy On My Flight

Added on by Patrick Hosmer.

The glasses-wearing Verizon Guy has been around since 2002. In ads he'd walk around with his phone, testing the Verizon signal in vast places like deserts and wheat fields saying "Can you hear me now? Good." Later, his catch phrase was shortened to just, "Good." Since 2007, Verizon's ads have moved away from emphasizing the broad reach of its signal and focused more on the size of its user base. So the Verizon Guy is now always featured with an enormous group of people behind him. 

Obvious History Lesson over.

Verizon, you're not half bad. I don't hate the Guy, which is something that is almost guaranteed with long-term spokespeople. I'm neutral like his jacket. What I do find kind of baffling is that Verizon is now advertising on US Airways tray tables which is not only one of the few places Verizon DOESN'T have a "network," it's also one of the only places where a consumer has no purchase power or really the ability to do anything. That's the kind of captive audience advertising that is maddening. 

My call to action is to sit on this plane for another 5 hours and hate being here. People are (and more importantly, feel) powerless on jets. They're all forced to eat at the same time like cattle and they have to ask for everything like a child so getting a hundred eyes on an ad in the middle of all that is not doing much. Same thing with HSBC monopolizing all the jetways with those pandering "perpective" ads. People associate those ads with stress because they're always shuffling to the plane with all their baggage when they see them. And it's not just airlines; it's subway cars and taxis and buses. Advertising doesn't work on people in transit because people in transit are kind of unhappy. Their hearts are closed.

Am I saying no advertising on or near modes of conveyance? No. The entire city is a travel hub. I'm just saying don't put Verizon Guy on my tray table because I have to stare it him for a long time. And inevitably this happens:

Verizon Guy Fun Fact: He actually does have a twin.  

Bonus Sprint Guy Fun Fact: He also wandered the Earth like Verizon Guy but he wore a black trench coat and dryly doled out sage advice to people with shitty phones. Do you know why he got 86'd after six long years in the Sprint Army?

Two things. One, no one wants to be lectured by a man in a rain coat. Two, there was nothing sticky about him (like a catch phrase). Also in 2005 Sprint merged with Nextel, they rebranded and Nextel's ad agency won out over Sprint's. Also ubiquity in a serious man is creepy. So really it's four things.