December 31 2009|12.31 PM UTC

Angelica Nierras

The Best and Worst Cell Phone Commercials of 2009

Category: WirelessTags: , ,


Some advice for all advertisers as we go into 2010: don’t mess with Mrs. Claus, touchy political issues, or reincarnation. Do use puppies and dancing babies. Please more dancing babies? Our picks for the best and worst cell phone TV ads of 2009.

#1 WORST WIRELESS TV AD OF 2009

Naughty Mrs. Claus

Boost’s entire “you think this is wrong?” campaign is one of the worst advertising themes, ever. This commercial, however, is truly horrifying. It features a randy Mrs. Claus shacked up in bed with a snowman. She turns to us and says: “You think this is wrong? Santa’s busy and I have needs. I’ll tell you what’s wrong – cell phone plans with contracts that cost a fortune.”

Ugh. Ew. Fail. I’m sorry, but cheating on Mr. Claus with a snowman is definitely worse than a high cell phone bill. Whoever wrote that line about Mrs. Claus’s “needs” has some serious issues. And let’s not even talk about the weird stop animation. Or Rudolph the Peeping Reindeer.

#1 BEST WIRELESS TV AD OF 2009

AT&T’s Lost Dog

Lost puppy, cute child, hot basketball star Tyler Hansbrough, AND last but not least, a clear product message. This commercial wins on so many levels.

5 Epic Fail Wireless Ads

Creepy, Creepy Palm Pre:

I swear the first time I saw these two commercials I was convinced they were trailers for a horror movie. Can you just imagine the conversation in the creative room? “Let’s cast a photosensitive alien girl!” “And put her in front of a surreal landscape!” “And play creepy music!” “Ooooh, and let’s have her talk about reincarnation!”

Armpit Hair:

This commercial speaks for itself. Seriously what is that guy smoking? Armpit hair is not as annoying as hidden fees? Really? Ask any guy which he’d pick, armpit hair in the face or a couple extra bucks in fees – in that scenario, fees win any day.

Israeli Cellcom:

This commercial lit off a firestorm. It depicts Israeli Defense Forces soldiers patrolling the West Bank barrier who begin an impromptu game of football (soccer) with some unknown Palestinians over the wall. The ad closes with a voiceover saying, according to ABC: “we all just want to have fun.”

As numerous news coverage notes, the commercial rather impressively pissed off everyone. Right-wingers argued the ad made light of the serious protection the barrier provides to Israelis; liberals argued that the ad mocked Palestinian suffering. Cellcom argued that it wanted to show how communication was possible even across barriers. True, but the company was probably better off staying far, far away from such a tricky subject. Cellcom eventually folded and pulled the ad.

Luke Wilson for AT&T:

Wow, this advertising agency = SLACKER. Luke Wilson, standing in front of a board, crossing off boxes…yeah, that’s engaging. Impressively, Luke doesn’t have to copy us lowlifes and use a pen to check off boxes, he gets a couple of white magnets in the shape of an X. Wonder how much that set the budget back.

What makes this ad even more pathetic is that it constitutes AT&T’s response to the Verizon “Map for That” ad (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZPjJI0K7Bk). AT&T unsuccessfully tried to sue Verizon for the ad and got a lot of bad publicity for its troubles. This Luke Wilson commercial was AT&T’s attempt to fight back. Didn’t work.

6 Epic Win Wireless Ads!

Despite the atrocities above, 2009 was actually a great year for wireless ads.

We can’t talk about great wireless commercials without talking about Apple’s iPhone advertising, which was rock solid as usual. See all three of them in this clip:

What took 2009 to new heights was, of course, the advertising campaign for the Droid by Motorola, which shamelessly ripped off the iPhone ads.

They were freaking awesome.

Of course, the phone was already more than halfway to the win as soon as it was christened after a registered trademark of LucasFilm. Star Wars is always a win.

Nokia N79 Active Commercial:

Watch the ad all the way through for a pretty darn romantic ending. Bonus points for showcasing the phone’s capabilities at the same time.

LG Arena KM900:

Is anyone out there using the LG Arena? After seeing their commercials, I’m hooked.

This commercial features the same slick graphics as those used by Apple, but takes them to new heights. All the phone’s capabilities – movies, pictures, apps, music – are highlighted in a super-groovy, tech-savvy way.

In addition to the above, there’s another great LG Arena commercial produced with dancing babies (yeah, you read that right):

Last but not least, no discussion of the wireless commercials of 2009 is complete without mentioning these great T-Mobile ads featuring yours truly, BillShrink. And some famous gorgeous actress lady.

Check back with us in 2010 for more coverage of the wireless industry!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael January 3, 2010 at 3:23 am

You forgot the HTC Campaign (You)

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cect November 2, 2011 at 1:05 am

Hi, Iˇve been a lurker around your blog for a few months. I love this article and your entire site! Looking forward to reading more!

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