Saturday, April 25, 2009

Verizon bids for the Nobel Peace Prize

The founder of Toms Shoes of Los Angeles appears on the screen, handing out pairs of shoes to grateful villagers in some unnamed South American nation-- "I give away a free pair of shoes for every one that I sell." That's awesome- a great idea, and if Verizon, the makers of this commercial, can give this guy a shout out, I'm all for it.

Except...."If it wasn't for The Network, this wouldn't be possible..."

Um, What? It wouldn't be possible for you to give away shoes if not for Verizon Wireless? Why not? It seems to me that charities managed to function for many, many years before The Network came along to make Our Lives Worth Living. But now this guy is telling us that he could not give away shoes without The Network? I think an explanation is in order here.

Does he mean that he would not be able to find the people who need the shoes without The Network? That's preposterous on it's face. Or he wouldn't be able to know, on a day to day basis, how many pairs of shoes he is supposed to be giving away? That doesn't make sense, either- the number of shoes to be given away would be decided long before he left the US, because gee, those shoes have to be flown into the recipient nation, don't they? Or are we supposed to believe that this guy flies into a village, counts people who need shoes, matches that to the number of shoes he's sold, and then acts accordingly? A bit far-fetched.

I have to come to the uncomfortable conclusion that Toms Shoes is just doing a little cross-marketing with Verizon. Here's a chance for some free publicity, and all we have to do is say that Verizon is somehow vital to our work. Never mind if it makes no sense- this is exposure, and it helps us AND Verizon....

Which brings me to another point. Verizon is clearly very proud of it's "role" in "making it possible" for Toms Shoes to engage in such a noble enterprise. But other than being praised, what is VERIZON doing to help out the less than fortunate? I mean, other than sending a camera crew to show shoes being handed out. How does this big sloppy Valentine from Verizon to Verizon help make life better for anyone?

I hope Toms Shoes sees its bottom line improve based on the positive attention it gets from this commercial. I'm just sorry that, in order to get it made, we had to give such an obvious butt-kissing to Verizon, which, near as I can tell, did nothing but film the sequence and run it to improve its OWN image. How about a charitable contribution, Verizon? Because I don't think that filming someone handing you credit for HIS charity quite cuts it.


  1. I agree the commercial sucks. What sucks more is that it is for AT&T, not Verizon, and pushes the meaningless "more bars in more places" tag.

  2. Thanks, I get them mixed up quite often.