Irony: Goodby Uses ‘First’ Motif in Ad That Relies on Recycled Theme

By Matt Van Hoven 

In a campaign hinging on the premise that Sprint is the first mobile service provider to operate on a 4G network, Goodby Silverstein San Francisco has created the ad you see above &#151 a Rube Goldberg toss-up with a subtle twist. The junk used to create the giant domino chain tells its own story about communication technology throughout history. It’s an odd combination of defining the product as original by using an unoriginal motif. And technically, 1G was the “first” &#151 but let’s not split hairs.

For consumers, the hook is (intended to be) being first. New York Times writer Stuart Elliott explains: “In the digital realm, the idea of being first will be played up with social media elements evocative of Foursquare, the location-based online service. Consumers in 4G markets will be able to playfully compete against each other to complete ‘4G first’ tasks like being the first to upload a video clip using 4G or the first to send a Twitter message in 4G.”

Yeah, our eyes just rolled too. Without diving headlong into a soliloquy about why co-opting “first” feels like a miss, I’ll say this: the spot is interesting to watch. I’m eager to see the rest of this campaign, namely the meat to these potatoes (I’ve asked for the deets but they haven’t come in yet and this train ain’t stopping). How do people feel about being first &#151 and more importantly, does the broader consumer market care about this? And what happens when all the firsts are gone? I guess they’ll have to get the boys in copy to think up a few more.

More: Everything We’ve Ever Written About Goodby