Editorial: How Sprint Ahead Will Fall Far Behind

Sprint’s new advertising campaign has fundamental flaws. Read more to find out why “Sprint Ahead” will cause Sprint to fall further behind.

Sprint got a new marketing agency, and they were off to a great start. The UpStage TV ads that we’ve posted were excellent. In fact, they went after some of the key flaws with Sprint marketing. For years Sprint has failed at marketing in so many ways, it’s hard to keep track. From the Brian Baker “Sprint Guy” era, to Nextel’s terrible advertising agency… things always were far from perfect. While the Sprint Guy style of marketing gave a human face to Sprint, it failed at delivering timely announcements of new features, and competitive advantage.

Nextel’s ad agency failed even worse. With Nextel they were able to tout how all phones featured GPS navigation, Direct Connect plans, and things that gave Nextel advantage. But Sprint… together with Nextel just came out a convoluted mess. Enter Goodby.

Unfortunately, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners has fumbled terribly with Sprint Ahead. After watching the ads, I can say without a doubt that they will at least fail as bad as the preceding ads. Why? Because they don’t hit home one good reason why you should chose Sprint over any other carrier. Don’t get me wrong, if these were CTIA ads promoting cell phones and the industry in general, they would have hit a home run. But, they don’t tell you one good reason to go with Sprint over anyone else.

And SprintSpeed? Are we five years old now? I thought everyone had finally realized that the “Sprint Power Network” was a dud… so instead of fixing the problem, we’re going to give it a new awful and convoluted name. And, let’s add terrible viral web marketing like the picture featured at the top of the editorial. Viral marketing is great… if you’ve got something to show people. It’s not great if everyone walks away saying “hey, did you see that iPhone ad last night?”

This is not meant to be a long editorial. I expect Sprint’s woes in marketing will continue until Sprint realizes they need to improve the timing of hard launches, and coordinate advertising to kick off immediately with hard launches. When Pivot goes nationwide, there needs to be ads the day it does… not three-to-six months later. When HP-PTT goes live, it needs to be plugged that week, and every week later until everyone realizes Sprint is the new #1 in push-to-talk. Sprint Navigation still hasn’t gotten its own TV ad.

So, please, spare us the terrible Sprint Ahead, SprintSpeed, and other things that say a lot, yet say nothing at all. Sprint has enough to talk about, unfortunately, poor marketers and ad agencies keep brushing it under the rug.

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