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Google’s Top Search Advertisers

The biggest chunk of Google’s revenue, search advertising, continues to be dominated by the titans of direct response: Wireless carriers, ecommerce sites, travel and financial services. IAC (,, Citysearch, etc) was the #1 search buyer in the first 9 months of 2011. Microsoft, General Motors, Avis and Enterprise also make the top 20.

Kantar Media data as reported on Ad Age. Above chart from Business Insider.

For Cisco, Exxon and Sprint, Obama Inauguration Is Post-Partisan Sponsorship Opportunity

From Ad Age’s Mediaworks

Rapid Fire full


“Cisco, Sprint, Exxon Mobil and Vestas Wind Systems have all signed on as integrated sponsors for the inauguration coverage on CNN and, with more than 20 additional advertisers purchasing airtime on TV throughout the day and 18 advertisers buying ads online.

“Greg D’Alba, CNN’s exec VP-chief operating officer of ad sales, said the total client list is the largest the network has ever had for any one- or two-day event. ‘The election trail was more than any of us bargained for in many ways. Our brand became more, our coverage became more, the viewers became more and our users became more,’ he said. ‘This is about the attraction and the empowerment of a brand. It’s no longer about a single medium; it’s about a network.’”

You get the sense, at least for the time being, the presidential brand — under the Obama umbrella — is no longer a partisan one. Or maybe Cisco, Exxon, Sprint and others are just being pragmatic: You want reach, put your brand next to something (or someone) that everyone’s talking about.

UPDATE 7:12 ET: According to Akamai, today’s inauguration was the 5th most watched net event ever, following two NCAA tourney games, the US losing to Ghana in the World Cup, and (in the #1 spot) Obama winning the US presidential election in November.

The Prohibitive Cost of Talking to Customers

John Seabrook’s latest New Yorker piece, Hello, Hal, takes a look at interactive-voice-response systems (IVRs), those automated customer-service robots we spend so much time talking to:

“Americans spent 43 billion minutes on the line with an I.V.R. in 2007, and only one caller in ten was satisfied.”

A ninety-percent rate of customer dissatisfaction?! That’s an abyssmal failure, especially if your business is one of those old-fashioned businesses that relies on happy customers. Seabrook reports that the cost to actually put a human on the other end of a customer phone call is $5, on average. What is wrong with a businesses when $5 is too expensive to talk to a customer?

Check out the recent experience of my colleague Pete Spande, who sent an email to Sprint’s new CEO, who offered up his direct email address in a TV commercial (see AdRants):

“In response to frequent complaints about its crappy plans and service areas, the CEO of Sprint appeared in a commercial and committed to do better. He offered viewers an email at which they could file critiques directly. Spande emailed to commend him on the campaign, and got — wait for it! — an automated message. A day or two later, he got an email from some random CSR, inviting him to check out the Sprint/WiMax website.”


iMedia's Best and Worst of 2007

iMedia 07

iMediaConnection invited me to contribute to the Best & Worst of 2007 round up. My favorite campaign of the year:’s sponsorship of Ask A Ninja. The campaign that made best use of user-generated content — if you count editorial posts on Boing Boing or OhGizmo “user generated” — was HP iPaq 510′s sponsorship of “voice posts.” The agency that, to me, went furthest in pushing the envelope was Goodby Silverstein for Sprint’s concept, HP’s campaign around voice posts (above), and HP’s Blackbird gaming system launch.

Sprint Taps Facebook App “Addicted to Heroes” For Show Tie-In

Brand advertising is coming to Facebook apps. Sprint’s “Addicted to Heroes” app tie-in campaign to their sponsorship of NBC’s Heroes (the TV show) is one example.

Addicted to Heroes

FM’s John Schneider, Bernie Albers, Stephanie Loleng and Liam Boylan — as well as Kevin and Wayne at Watercooler, the makers of the “Addicted to” apps — helped put this together.

Another Brave Man: Instructables' Wilhelm Tries Sprint Cut

Eric Wilhelm, the CEO and Chief Project Doer at Instrucables, recently accepted ads from Sprint on his site — ads promoting “Sprint Cuts” at Sprint’s site. Then, in his words, “After watching the ‘Sprint Cut’ on how to peel an egg at I was intrigued. I thought this might be useful for Tim and me considering how many hardboiled eggs we eat. So we gave it shot. Results are below…. We’re not certain whether it belongs in Handy Tricks or How Not To…” Here’s the post.

Instructables Sprint CutThe post also includes a disclosure, “Sprint is an advertiser on Instructables, and is part of their advertising.” To be clear, Sprint and their agencies (Goodby and Mindshare) bought ads on Instructables, but did not ask for or expect any coverage on Instructables. Instead, the fact that Eric tried his hand at one of the short-cuts featured in Sprint’s advertising is an unexpected (if wonderful) outcome to a well-crafted creative concept. Among the 40 comments submitted to this post, I couldn’t find anything negative toward Eric, Instructables or Sprint. Nor could I find anyone who seemed confused or upset that Sprint made its way from the advertising section to the main projects section of the site.

It Takes a Brave Man to Compliment the Ads On His Site

That’s the headline used by Steve Safran in his post at Lost Remote. Lost Remote works with FM, and Sprint is running ads on Lost Remote as part of its Sprint Cuts campaign.

“Have you checked out the Sprint ads that cycle through on the right of LR? Pretty good. Fast, funny, and — I have to say — clever. They’re part of their ‘Waitless’ campaign — ideas to save you time in your life. Now keep in mind that our ads are sold by Federated Media, so we have no idea what’s going to go into that space. We’ve also dissed ads that have appeared there, and so we’re not trying to suck up. (Much.) No — I think the Sprint ads are an excellent example of ‘advertising as entertainment.’ I went through a bunch of their quick videos, and spent time on their site. That’s worth pointing out on the rare occasions that it happens.”

Readers at Lost Remote, at least a few that commented, agree:

“Agreed. Clicked through to their site from here and I wasted a good 15 minutes going through the different clips. Though I still can’t get the hang of speed tying my shoes.”

And this one, which ought to get FM’s critics riled up:

“Those are sheer genius. (The ‘Turbo Parking’ one worries me a little, though.) Thing is, I would never have clicked on one if you hadn’t drawn attention to it… “

Steve and Lost Remote readers: Glad you like em!

Update 9/16: Another brave man, Eric Wilhelm of Instructables tries his hand at one of the “Sprint Cuts” being advertised on his site.