Sunday, October 14, 2012

You've got Questions, I've got Answers. And Radio Shack still has batteries, last time I checked

Every once in a while, I like to change things up a bit by giving my take on a vintage ad.  So, today I'll be giving my take on a vintage ad.  There, got the first paragraph taken care of, anyway.

Know how you can tell this cell phone ad is really, really old (circa 1995, or as the kids like to call it, the Stone Age?)  No, not from the cell phones the size of shoe boxes.  No, not from the cheesy-fake "snow" used to put us in the mood for Christmas giving and all that crap.  Not from the paper phone contract filled out in pen at Radio Shack (even then, the fine print read $40 Activation fee, 20 free minutes per month, 5-year contract with auto-renewal, $400 early cancellation fee.) And no, not from the hair styles or the big ugly cars.

Here's how you can tell this is a really old ad for cellphones- the people who wrote this one actually attempt to show us potential consumers exactly why being able to call someone from someplace other than a house or a phone booth could benefit our loved ones.  We don't see people sending pointless texts or watching movies or playing idiotic video games.  Nope- the people in this ad are, incredibly, using their phones to let people know that they need help, will be late, etc.  I bet it's been at least a decade since any cell phone ad   demonstrated a practical use for their product.  Ah, the 1990s- the Age of Innocence, wasn't it?

(Ok, so we see a woman who is going to be late because....Godzilla is wrecking havoc on the Expressway.  I'd still rather see that than a woman using her new Samsung Galaxy III to watch Twilight on the subway.)

Of course, I didn't own a cell phone in the 1990s.  Maybe I was subconsciously waiting for the geniuses at AT&T to give them  more features, like texting and video streaming and connectivity to something called Facebook, as soon as that was invented just in time to usher in a new generation of pathetic addicts.  Or maybe it's because back then, teenagers just didn't own cell phones ;>).

By the dawn of the new millennium, phone companies were pretty much out of "this is why you need a cell phone" ads and had moved on to "this is why you want a cell phone" ads disguised as "this is why you need a cell phone" ads.  And the race to the bottom was on (I thought it was the ability to take a video and put it on YouTube four seconds later, but I'm sure we haven't reached it yet.)

(By the way....anyone else think that Mike was probably not all that disappointed to learn that his wife and kids would be a little late?  Jesus, you could cut glass with that voice.)


  1. They left out the ending scene where Mike's dead hand, holding the phone, is seen under the rubble of their crushed home.

  2. I got my first cell in November 2003, for exactly the reasons given in the ad, and that's still 90% of why I continue to carry one. My home number is still my main number and where I tell people they can reach me.

    1. I didn't get a cell phone until 2002, and I kept a land line until 2005, when I moved into an apartment which did not have a phone jack. My cell phone has been my only phone since then, but there are times when I really miss having a land line. Nostalgia, I guess.