Friday, May 20, 2005

The Power of Commercial Images

I recently decided to switch cell phone service providers. My service was getting expensive in relation to what I got out of it. Basically, the economics of it boiled down to: did I want to pay the same amount for (1) the potential for rollover minutes, or (2) earlier night & weekend hours?

After doing a little bit of investigating, I went with Cingular and its rollover minutes. (This was due in part because I could find no advertised plan at Sprint regarding its 7:00 night hours. Apparently it costs extra. And Cingular also offers 7:00 night hours, at an extra cost as well, which I declined for pricing reasons.)

While the economics of it was pretty much determinative, I am happy that I ended up with Cingular for at least one other reason: I wanted to support Cingular because they are among the lone businesses out there willing to put a non-stereotypical Asian face to its product. The lastest round of Cingular commercials features a guy with distinctly Asian features schooling a hapless white guy who hasn't adequately budgeted his minutes and thus fears overage charges. The Asian guy has no accent, speaks grammatically correct English, doesn't sell fish or dim sum, and evidences no skill in a martial art. I'm glad for that.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not some knee-jerk sucker who will go out and buy stuff just because they get Asians to help hawk it. That said, though, it certainly does catch my eye (in a good way) to see more Asian faces on television.

T-Mobile features at least one Asian guy in its "prepaid phone" commercials... but that Asian guy (and his little "posse") are just plain weird. I'm talking about that silly crew that shows up while someone's talking about their prepaid minutes and acts all hip-hop. It's stupid. And after they finish their rant about hidden charges and stuff, they launch into complete non-sequiturs. ("You guys are posers, aren't you?" -- "Jicka-jicka BOOM cha BOOM BOOM.") What the heck?

Of course, it doesn't hurt that Cingular also has the Karshner triplets.


katie said...

I haven't had any problems with cingular yet- and the customer service people are always really friendly.
Those triplets are yummy.

Steve said...

I have the craptastic Alltel, which I've heard is now crediting me with a minute every damn time their system drops a call. At this rate, they'll owe me. Oh, and I'm all about those triplets, but I haven't seen the new Cingular spots yet. The triplets, and a yummy Asian guy? Hmmmm.

Jon said...

I wish we'd revert to the days of Hop Sing on Bonanza and hand laundries. Just kidding.

Dennis! said...

Katie: My friend here says that customer service is actually bad whenever she has to call Cingular, but otherwise, she's fine with the service. I figure I won't need to call them as much, so whatever. I wanted the rollover.

Steve: Well, the triplets and the Asian guy aren't in the same commercials....

Jon: Kinda like that A&F t-shirt: "Wong's Dry Cleaning - Two Wongs Can Make It White!" Ugh.