The purpose of Verizon’s ad at this year’s Super Bowl is not entirely clear, but the stick it has taken is very obvious, especially following the California wildfires blunder.
The advert, which you can see at the foot of the article, seems to be an attempt to emotionally blackmail the audience by highlighting everything 5G won’t be able to do in place of humans, but it has not been particularly well received. The message seems to be little more than a cheap attempt to secure favour, and it does appear the audience has seen through it.
At the time of writing, the one-minute video has been viewed over 57,000 times on YouTube, not a particularly high-number for a Super Bowl ad, being ‘liked’ 287 time and ‘disliked’ 563 times.
Comments have been switched off on the video, though judging by the reaction of the Twitter universe, this was an intelligent decision. Several posters paid homage to Verizon’s decision to throttle firefighter’s data during the 2018 California wildfires, which saw 8,527 fires burn an area of 1,893,913 acres, the most damaging fire season on record.
Again, aside from tapping into a sense of patriotism, a common play for US advertisers, the objective of undermining the role of 5G is not entirely clear. More than anything else, it looks to be a superficial approach to make use of the Super Bowl pandemonium and tug on the heart strings of the US general public.
Ever the opportunist, T-Mobile US CEO John Legere and the Magenta army took the opportunity of one of the worlds most popular sporting events to throw a few digs at Verizon:
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) February 2, 2020
The rise of T-Mobile US and the deployment of its 600 MHz 5G spectrum across the US has seen a conflict emerge. Without access to the valuable C-Band spectrum, 3.5 GHz, like the rest of the world, high- and low-band spectrum are forming the foundations of the US telco’s 5G plans.
AT&T, Verizon and Sprint have been aggressively pushing forward with mmWave assets, while T-Mobile US has put the 600 MHz spectrum at the centre of campaigns. Neither will deliver an effective 5G experience which ticks all the promised boxes, mmWave will fail on coverage and propagation while 600 MHz will fall short on speed, but T-Mobile US is making the most of the difficulty by producing very attractive coverage maps if you don’t know what 5G actually is.
It is difficult to pick a winner in the US 5G race right now, but the T-Mobile US team are certainly better at gaining attention and PR inches. Perhaps this explains the misguided attempt at patriotic advertising from Verizon, an alternative approach to gain public credibility which looks to be nothing more than a swing-and-a-miss right now.