T-Mobile Debuts Bill Hader Ads and Frequent Phone Upgrades
T-Mobile CEO John Legere has made headlines in the wireless industry by openly mocking his competition, gratuitously swearing during press conferences and personifying the company's brash new attitude, all with a wide smile. The press conference T-Mobile held on Wednesday was no exception, although Mr. Leger did refrain from saying the "F word" this time.
No wonder the company sought out comedic actor Bill Hader for its new marketing campaign. Mr. Hader -- who retired from "Saturday Night Live" this year after nine seasons with the show -- will be the company's new pitchman.
Mr. Hader will be the face of the company's new Jump program which will let customers update their phones up to two times a year by paying a $10 per month ancillary charge. Verizon and AT&T recently lengthened the amount of time their customers must wait for an upgrade to 24 months (or approximately 730 days). As such, marketing Jump will involve Mr. Hader suffering through 730 days of using a defunct smartphone.
There will be 15 Jump ads featuring Mr. Hader; four 15-second spots and 11 30-second spots, Peter DeLuca, T-Mobile's senior VP-brand and advertising said in an interview after the event. Each of the ads finds Mr. Hader in a painfully familiar situation; trying to use a phone that constantly needs to be plugged in, having his smartphone screen cracked or using rice to try and salvage a phone ruined by water damage.
Mr. Hader helped write some of the scenes, Mr. DeLuca added. The commercials were created by T-Mobile's agency of record Publicis & Riney .
The ads will begin running Sunday night, but the campaign's more significant push will start on Monday during Major League Baseball's Home Run Derby broadcast and the All-Star Game the following evening.
T-Mobile wrapped the seven train in New York, which stops at Citi Field where the All-Star will be played on Tuesday, in its signature color.
"It's the magenta line this week," Mr. DeLuca said.
Customers are encourage to tell their own smarpthone frustration stories on social media using the #Hate2Wait hash tag. The 730 best tweets, Instagrams, Vines and Facebook posts will be awarded a Samsung Galaxy S4.
In addition to adding Mr. Hader as a pitchman, T-Mobile brought back former spokeswoman Carly Foulkes at the press conference. Speculation swirled earlier this year that Ms. Foulkes -- commonly known as "the T-Mobile girl" or "the girl in pink" -- had been retired as a T-Mobile personality.
Ms. Foulkes will be used to market T-Mobile's growing network capabilities, but T-Mobile executives said they have yet to determine how and where consumers will see her.
"We're leaving some mystery about her role going forward," CMO Mike Sievert said.
T-Mobile has cemented its position as a rebellious but consumer-focused wireless provider brand, though. That message started in March when T-Mobile revealed its rebranding as the "Un-carrier" and was continued on Wednesday.
During the initial press conference, Mr. Legere derided AT&T's popular "It's Not Complicated" ads -- which feature a comedic actor speaking with toddlers -- by talking to four female dolls that were seated in a semi-circle next to him onstage. He said that the ads, while good, merely distracted from the fact that AT&T does not offer a consumer-friendly service.
Mr. Legere also took a moment to say that a reporter's recent article on T-Mobile was a "piece of trash" because it used outdated market share numbers.
"The thing that's resonated most with customers is that there are three [mobile carrier] companies acting the same and only one that's acting different," Mr. DeLuca said.
Watch the other four newly-released T-Mobile ads below.