Verizon Uses Its 'Silicon Valley' Pitchman to Unite the Brand With Google in Pixel 2 Ads

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Thomas Middleditch (r.), bounces his comedy off a real engineer in Verizon ads.
Thomas Middleditch (r.), bounces his comedy off a real engineer in Verizon ads. Credit: Verizon

Verizon mixes real engineers and comedic company pitchman Thomas Middleditch in a campaign for its new flagship phone.

The first ad for the Pixel 2, a Google phone Verizon has exclusive rights to sell, launched Thursday. With iPhone's dominance, there are few such flagship devices for wireless carriers to hype, but the latest Google phone seems to warrant a star-powered marketing push.

In the ad, the "Silicon Valley" star plays off the real-life Google and Verizon engineers with his awkward comedyball persona to promote the corporate melding.

Andrew McKechnie, Verizon's chief creative officer—who leads an internal creative agency at Verizon of 80 people that was formed this year after he came over from Apple's in-house team—says social video for the Pixel 2 campaign is being done in-house.

"We brought a lot of the social media work to life thinking of other ways that the engineers could talk about the technology from a Verizon and Google standpoint," McKechnie says.

Middleditch also appears in Verizon's primary ad campaign—which, like the work for the Pixel 2, is from McCann—in which he interrupts ordinary moments, such as weddings, roadside car breakdowns and sports conferences, to promote the wireless company's data power. He'll be doing holiday ads for the campaign as well, notes McKechnie.

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