Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Crickets don't know fast from reliable

Listening to a radio spot by local cell carrier Cricket Wireless recently, I was reminded of how easy it is to pull a bait and switch if you do it quickly and confidently enough. In the spot, two characters are talking in a pretty classic problem/solution format. It's a pretty fast spot, so if you're paying attention, you'll completely miss them dodging a major cell issue.

The guy who's looking for a good cell carrier is listing things he wants from a carrier, and the solution guy is naming all of Cricket's relevant benefits. Carrier seeking guy say, "I want a reliable network." Solution guy replies, "Cricket has a 3G network."

The problem is, of course, that 3G addresses the speed of the network, not the reliability. You can ask just about anyone with an iPhone 3G in a major urban area exactly how "reliable" 3G really is. Who needs service in places like downtown Houston or the central business district in Chicago? 3G has to do primarily with the speed of the network in regards to downloading data like songs or streaming video.

So, props to Cricket for pulling a fast one. Answer a question with a technical term that not everyone understands and you get to substitute speed for reliability. I wish all product benefit shell games were that easy.

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