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Brutal Honesty in Advertising – Does it Work?

Think of almost every smartphone ad you see on television or any other media venue. Now think of the perceived audience for that commercial. The fact is that most smartphone ads appear to be trying to appeal to the diligent, 80-hour a week worker. They often depict people on the go, sending out emails while fielding a million phone calls from unruly clients. The funny thing is we all know that these aren’t the only reasons why people use their smartphones. Perhaps this is the reason behind the viral success of AT&T’s new commercial for the Blackberry Torch 4G. The commercial depicts the boss at an office handing out assignments to employees. However, instead of giving expected tasks, he orders everyone in the office to go about utilizing their phones in leisurely ways (which, let’s face it, everyone does at one point or another). It is a clever way to highlight the features of the phone while speaking to the consumer on a different level than they have grown accustomed to through other smarphone ads.

While the originality of the commercial may not necessarily speak to the sales success of the struggling Blackberry, cites that it had over 400,000 views on You Tube as of late last week (it broke last Monday) and it is up to over 820,000 as of now, showing that a well executed combination of honesty and humor will at least get people talking about a product. Remember not to aim advertising over the desired audience’s head. Consumers are going to pursue a product only when they actually see themselves using it, meaning sometimes it’s okay to ditch all the fancy bells and whistles and just tell it like it is.


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