Last October, Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son paid a trip to the States to express his displeasure. The CEO of Softbank, the Japanese parent company of the No. 3 wireless carrier in the U.S., reportedly slammed his fists on a table and demanded that the company's ad agencies be fired.
Blaming Sprint's third-place status on its advertising or its agencies is ludicrous. As a Sprint user from the start of my cellular career, I can attest that its coverage is usually inferior to Verizon and AT&T.
Besides, by the end of the year, Sprint and former agency Leo Burnett, Chicago, could proudly lay claim to one of the best advertising campaigns of 2013 with "The Important Things You Do" effort featuring James Earl Jones and Malcolm McDowell reading texts and social-media status updates.
Still, Leo Burnett's lead position was given to agency Figliulo & Partners.
The first product is an ad campaign that may please Masayashi
Son, but will likely do nothing for Sprint.
The "Frobinson Family" effort is basically a retread of a Softbank campaign that's had some success in Japan. I've watched the Japanese spots and found those funny. But I also don't understand a word of Japanese. So I can laugh at the sight of a talking dog as patriarch of a human family without getting tripped up by the absurdity of the sales pitch.