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Sprint Quickly Pulls Video Ad Calling T-Mobile 'Ghetto' (fiercewireless.com) 201

An anonymous reader writes: Sprint has pulled an ad in which it was calling its competitor, T-Mobile, "ghetto." The ad featured company's CEO Marcelo Claure. "I'm going to tell you a carrier name and I want you to basically tell me what comes to your mind," Claure said in the ad. "T-Mobile. When I say T-Mobile to you, just a couple of words?" Which is when a white woman chimes in, "Oh my god the first word that came to my head was ... ghetto." "That sounds, like, terrible," she says. "I don't know't know. There's always, like, three carriers; there's AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. And people who have T-Mobile are just, like... Why do you have T-Mobile?""We're sharing real comments from real customers," Claure wrote in the aftermath of criticism. "Maybe not the best choice of words by the customer. Not meant to offend anyone."
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Sprint Quickly Pulls Video Ad Calling T-Mobile 'Ghetto'

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  • What a stupid bitch (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    T-Mobile is by far the best carrier for the money. I don't frequently espouse that opinion because I consider them the "best kept secret" and don't want other people over-subscribing the network.

    Maybe racism is just an elaborate ruse by wealthy white people to keep Jazz music to themselves?

    • If you live in a big city, t-mobile is great. If you live in a smaller town... well, I lose signal when I go for a walk in the wrong direction. Still better than coverage than sprint though.

      • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @04:02PM (#51902639)

        I disagree. I live in a small town, and T-mo was basically unusable, whereas Sprint is almost OK, but still very problematic.

        But it's a lot better than Verizon because I don't have to trade my car in for a beater and move into a shack to pay the phone bill.

      • I used to have T-Mobile, and I found that my data coverage basically disappeared when I was more than 5 miles away from a major highway.

        It seemed to be faster than AT&T when I was in an urban area, though.

        • by PRMan ( 959735 )
          My first trip with T-Mobile data was this year, and I was driving up toward Tahoe from LA. I was WAY into the desert before it stopped working. I would be shocked if anything worked way out there (to their credit, my friend's AT&T still worked, but he pays double for 3 lines what I pay for 4).
          • See, that's the thing with T-Mobile. When you're near a major highway, the reception usually fine even in rural areas. You get away from the highway and get into the boondocks, though... no coverage.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      T-Mobile is by far the best carrier for the money.

      Agreed.

      And, oddly enough, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear "Sprint" is "white trash".

    • God, I hate advertisers.

      "T-Mobile. When I say T-Mobile to you, just a couple of words?"

      Which is when a white woman chimes in,
      "Oh my god the first word that came to my head was ... ghetto."
      "That sounds, like, terrible," she says.
      "I don't know. There's always, like, three carriers; there's AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. And people who have T-Mobile are just, like... Why do you have T-Mobile?"

      That woman is, like, stupid. When I see a huge company like Sprint take something like that and show it to other people, this is what it sounds like to me:

      At Sprint, our customers are idiots. Are you an idiot too, like this customer? Then you should come to Sprint.

      Just like the idiotic Toyota commercials which play on both radio and TV. "Hi, this is Pat! I can't answer the phone, because I'm a fucking idiot without a cell phone who changes the message on his answering machine every time he leaves the house. I like Toyotas!" Yeah, I really want to give my money to a company yelling about

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        You know... In the 1980s, I stopped watching much in the way of television. Things like this? They make me feel good about that. I do kind of miss Nova and I've seen some Independent Lens stuff that was good. So, I'm mostly happy with that and, besides, the 'net has scads of documentaries uploaded.

  • Once you go band 12 of t-mobile, they're a 1st class carrier. Anything else though, it's just utter shit.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sprint's customer service is ghetto.

      Ting and FI are brilliant.

      • Ting has great customer service, but their price on data is a no go for me these days. They did send me a Ting hoodie and socks that are super comfortable. Easily the best phone customer service I have ever seen.
    • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

      Anything else though, it's just utter shit.

      For you maybe. For my family's 4 lines, it's far more than adequate for our usage, where we use it, and for the price we pay.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      I have a Galaxy S5 and it works great all over SoCal. Very fast internet connection all the time.
  • Throwing your customers under the bus is always a good PR move. Way to go.
    • by khasim ( 1285 )

      Not to mention that the video shows HIM nodding and saying "yes" when she says that.

      HE chose to go ahead with that video.

      HE chose to include that scene in the commercial.

      HIS company's logo is on that commercial.

      No. It was not that woman. HE chose all of that. He could have left it out.

      Now he's trying to blame her. Fuck him.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @03:27PM (#51902269)

    As the only major carrier that told the Feds to get a warrant before they would provide access to all of your private data, Hero comes to mind before ghetto.

    • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @04:02PM (#51902637) Homepage
      well obviously, because they know that snitches get stitches!
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Perhaps because they are the only non-US carrier in the US, being a Deutsche Telekom company. Giving out the data without a warrant is illegal in most states as well. Though the customer protection laws aren't strictly enforced when the enquiring party is law enforcement.
  • by bobstreo ( 1320787 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @03:27PM (#51902271)

    Isn't that bad. I've been with them for a while (7 years), and prices/wifi calling and so on are pretty good.

    The only issues I've had is coverage in remote areas (places that A&T/Sprint/Verizon didn't work well either) and inside buildings. Their new LTE
    network is supposed to fix the inside building thing, and I've just used wifi inside.

      I think some of the pay as you go (burner) phones are way more ghetto.

    • So, we used to be hillbillies, and Verizon was the only carrier that worked worth a damn anywhere near our house.

      Now that we've moved into the big city, we can get equal coverage from T-Mobile for a much lower price. Sure, when we go back out to the sticks T-Mobile still doesn't work out there as well as Verizon, but there's more than a few reasons why we left that life and we certainly don't go back and visit often.

      • We put a booster and antenna on our house out in the sticks (we don't even get TV reception) and now our T-mobile works great. $30 for unlimited data.

        • You know those coverage maps that show strong, moderate, etc. For T-Mobile, we were in the "you're 5 miles from the interstate and 10 miles from downtown SOL" zone.

  • by s1d3track3D ( 1504503 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @03:31PM (#51902313)

    “I don't know't know. There's always, like, three carriers; there's AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. And people who have T-Mobile are just, like... well, you know, they’re like black and minorities and poor and stuff, and those people, like, live in, like, you know, the ghetto...”

    • Sprint is now the smallest carrier in the US. T-Mobile overtook them some time ago.

    • I thought T-mobile originated in Germany, where ghettoes are where all the Jews lived. For black and minorities and poor and stuff, y'all be talking Boost and MetroPCS, dawg.

      Gratuitous low-grade racism aside, I do notice that MetroPCS ads seem to feature more Hispanics. Anyone familiar with the relative performance and target markets of the secondary carriers (Boost, MetroPCS, Cricket, others ?)

      • Dunno about their target market, but I'm a "single working professional" switching to a secondary carrier (Cricket) now that AT&T is doing away with subsidies in future contracts, and letting me out of my existing contract by increasing the unlimited data fee.

  • Sprint doesn't offer enough bling to bring in the money.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Don't do crack, it's a ghetto drug" -- Jesse Jackson

    (and of course, not a single peep from anyone).

  • by Y2K is bogus ( 7647 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @03:47PM (#51902501)

    So Sprint must be for self-absorbed inarticulate people, if you use their marketing example as benchmark.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      Actually I was on Sprint for over 10 years and moved to T-Mobile.
      Sprint's network was useless. I had data rates that made a dialup modem look fast. I waited years for Sprint to fix the issues and left for T-Mobile.
      I now have good LTE service in most places.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @03:49PM (#51902515) Homepage

    Why do you have T-Mobile?

    The question is best asked, "why do you subscribe to cellular phone service?" among the providers listed most are indiscernable from one another outside their limited branding. each network has a coverage determined by the wavelength and spectrum allotted the towers by the FCC. each network has a set of plans, terms, conditions, contractual obligtations, fees and fines associated with their services. And finally, each network of cellular systems is susceptible to outages or failures due to interference, underprovisioning, and "act of god." The cellular service must therefore be defined in terms of the lifestyle it offers, not the service.

    the question is why or how do these services differentiate themselves in the consumer mind at all from one another? What the CEO was doing was a simple market identity and brand association test performed every single day by hundreds of corporate focus groups from proctor and gamble to general electric. AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint collectively spend multiple billions of dollars each year to promote their product in different ways. AT&T's advertisements may focus on connectivity and family, while Verizon may focus on selling their customers on the perception of advanced or modern living through a superior network and handsets. It doesnt matter the theme, however assuming the target of the question is being genuine and not a paid actress, its a telling statement. Perhaps T-Mobile has spent too much advertising focus on low-cost plans. another common problem, one that marketing and advertisers are keenly aware of, is demographic. Too much diversity in your advertisements and many middle income white suburban consumers will subconsciously associate your product with the negative minority stereotypes utilised by other marketing teams to sell things like music, movies, and clothing. The question the CEO asked to the participant elicited a tacit admission that the participant felt either alienated or confused by the networks product as she hadn't been properly exposed to the correct advertisement for her demographic which, depending on your marketing alignment, can be a sign of trouble.

    full disclosure: I work in marketing.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      I guess I am not a racist, but I like T-Mobile's ads and prices.
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      T-Mobile had international-supported GSM before anyone else. AT&T added it soon after, when they were losing business from the multi-nationals, but only on locked phones that weren't international. With T-Mobile, there was about 5-10 years where they were the only one that you could buy an unlocked GSM phone that worked on international frequencies. Tokyo to NYC to Paris with the same phone. Just swap SIMs if you like for local rates/numbers, or keep your SIM and pay insane international roaming rat
    • Speaking as somebody who frequently travels (both on business trips and pleasure ones) T-Mobile's free international roaming is a huge deal for me. Until another carrier offers that, or offers sufficiently-cheaper service to make up for the difference of adding that, I will most likely stick to TMo. Being able to get off the plane anywhere in the world and immediately have my phone work is just magical, as is being able to text my girlfriend without even needing to buy a new SIM and tell her the new number.

  • There's always, like, three carriers; there's AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. And people who have T-Mobile are just, like... Why do you have T-Mobile?"

    'Cause "like, three carriers" can actually mean four carriers - dumb ass.

    [ I use Ting which uses Sprint (and Verizon) for CDMA and T-Mobile for GSM. ]

    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Whatever happened to the big five?

      You know att, verizon, alltel, sprint, tmobile.
      I know verizon ate alltel but that was years ago what ever happend to this won't harm competition?

      Wasn't some other company supposed to step up and be the new number five?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Boost Mobile, the MVNO that targets the urban youth demographic, runs on Sprint's network.

  • Happy customer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by codepigeon ( 1202896 ) on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @04:09PM (#51902711)
    I have used t-mobile for about 5 or 6 years. I have never had a problem with the service. Contrary to what that airhead customer thinks, I don't live in a ghetto.

    I love to see the look on the faces of my ATT friends when I tell them I only pay $50/month for unlimited text/calls/data (up to 2GB at 4g then throttled back after that). I also have rollover data, so what I don't use gets put on the next month's "allowance". They just sent me a text the other day showing I have about 6GB of 4g-speed data to use. :)

    And recently they mentioned something about certain kinds of streaming traffic not counting towards your monthly allotment. I haven't really looked into it yet.

    On a personal note, the attitude of that customer makes me sick. I have friends and family of different races. I know people who live "in the ghetto". They are not subhumans you can look down your nose at...what a bitch.
    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      Same. I pay $100 a month for 4 lines of 2.5 GB of data (which is virtually unlimited because audio and video don't count). The 4 phones are bought on time so they add another $90 a month, which ends in about 11 months. After that, we can see who needs an upgrade or whether we can save money.
    • I'm on tmobile paying $40/month for the same plan as yours, except I get 3gb/month high speed data to your 2mb, and mine doesn't roll over.

      Just checking that you're aware of this cheaper plan?

  • They do understand that neo-nazis, rascists, anti-semitics, bigots, etc are real actual people, not fiction.

    Did they think they just existed in the movies? That liberals were just lying when they claimed we needed civil rights?

    The fact that you found and interviewed a real slime bag, does not excuse you for sending their views out into the world.

  • The first time they asked, she said, "Walmart!" ;-)

  • by jgotts ( 2785 ) <jgottsNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 13, 2016 @04:44PM (#51903035)

    I am one of T-Mobile's earlier customers. I signed up with them shortly after they formed in 1999 because they were the only carrier in Metro Detroit that offered GSM, and I thought it would be useful to be able to use my phone in Europe where I worked for a week or two once a year. Indeed, I used my phone in Europe sparingly. Thanks to number portability, I've had the same phone number for the entire 17 year period.

    We've had our ups and downs, but for most of those 17 years T-Mobile was the cheapest option, sometimes by a large margin. Their data service is fast, but only if you get a 4G or 4G LTE signal. You don't want to be stuck on their Edge network for longer than brief periods. Edge is not much better than 1999-era GSM.

    I haven't gotten a 3G signal in many years, except where T-Mobile has a roaming agreement with another carrier. In these roaming areas, they give you a tiny monthly allocation of data which I normally exhaust in a few hours. You can still make calls and send text messages as normal. This leads me to conclude that while other carriers have wider deployments, T-Mobile has done a great job at providing coverage where their customers actually live and work. Unfortunately, when you go camping and you have roaming coverage instead of Edge coverage, you will quickly not be able to use the Internet at all, rather than have to settle for slower speeds.

    I live, work, and mostly travel where T-Mobile 4G LTE coverage is good. Programs like Waze are much better now at dealing with networks like T-Mobile where speeds can go from 4G LTE to no coverage within ten miles by behaving like you would expect. I used to have problems with apps thinking that everywhere the app is being used the bandwidth will be the same, or the developer naively assuming that their offices in Silicon Valley have similar coverage to places like rural Illinois.

    To summarize, if you are a rural user, do not use T-Mobile. If you are a(n) (sub)urban and cost sensitive user like me, go with T-Mobile. You won't always get good coverage in rural areas, but you can at least store your pictures and videos and immediately crush the first 4G LTE tower you encounter once you get within range on your way home.

  • That's funny. I would've said something almost exactly the opposite in terms of brand image:

    "Sprint -- oh, you mean you still live with your parents?"

    T-mobile has some of the better international roaming-included and no-contract cancellation policies around. And they are significantly cheaper than ATT and Verizon.

    That said, I'm also one step away from moving over to Google Fi.
  • I remember about 10 years ago when Sony announced the PSP the claimed that they were going to "will elevate portable entertainment out of the handheld gaming ghetto." No one raised a stink over Sony back then. The only thing people questioned was that idea that the Gameboy Advance, at the time, was a "ghetto."
    • To be fair, that wasn't a comment made about a *specific* product or competitor, even if in practice there was only one meaningful competitor. But yes people have become more concerned with not just casually writing off large groups of people as lesser than everybody else. I'm very OK with this...

  • "We're sharing real comments from real customers," Claure wrote in the aftermath of criticism. "Maybe not the best choice of words by the customer. Not meant to offend anyone."

    It doesn't matter if it wasn't the best choice of words by the customer. Somebody at Sprint or their ad agency thought it was okay to run it. The real story isn't that some customer said that, but that Sprint thought it was acceptable to air it.

  • I'm getting 90 megabits LTE service at the moment from my "ghetto" T-Mobile unlimited data service which costs me $30 less per month than I was paying AT&T on my original grandfathered data plan.

    So, how can Verizon win me as a customer? By insulting all of T-Mobile's customers? Yeah, not happening.

    -jcr

  • The advertisement is a little ironic considering that T-Mobile has more subscribers than AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. Not only is the advertisement unprofessional, but the connotation that T-Mobile is ghetto is completely incorrect.

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