Can’t Deal With People? These Cringey Ads Say a Quick-Charging Phone Can Help

Power up and run

A few weeks ago, I went on a trip. By the time I arrived at the airport, my phone was a dead brick—obliging me to hunt down the nearest charging station and, upon spying one, immediately elbow in and seize it.

But you’re never really alone at a charging station. I was sharing this one with a woman in the middle of a heated argument with somebody on her phone—still plugged in, just above mine.

I didn’t want to be there, anxiously checking my social networks and waiting to be released. She clearly didn’t want me there. But we were using a public utility, and we had to make do. So we sat very close together, each of us pretending the other woman didn’t exist at all, and tried to continue our individual life trajectories unencumbered.

As she arched her back and shouted “WHY DON’T YOU GO LIVE WITH HIM?” our arms touched, tense yet somehow still feather-soft on contact, because that’s the way you politely touch someone that you’re trapped next to.

Perhaps inspired by moments like this, smartphone startup OnePlus released two ads that focus on how quickly you can charge your phone and, in essence, run away.

Made by Carrot Creative, the first, titled “Just Kidding,” opens with two women sharing a charging station in a café. One is a mother whose children are playing tug-of-war with her listless body while she checks her messages. The other woman watches, with growing anxiety, as those tiny human nightmares explore more sadistic ways to attract attention.

“I’m charged,” she says when it becomes clear that the stakes are about to go way, way up.

OnePlus smartphones, powered by the brand’s exclusive Dash Charge technology, promise users “a day’s power in half an hour.” It’s able to do this with a larger electric current that maintains a steady hyper-fast charging speed, even if you’re using your phone while it’s plugged in.

A second ad, “Mr. Roboto,” might resonate with anyone who’s still shaking off a CES hangover.

A woman shares a charging station with a guy playing a VR game. He’s wearing sandals over socks and his pants don’t fit, a caricature straight out of Revenge of the Nerds—long-limbed, awkward, poorly dressed and unaware of where he begins and ends, a problem exacerbated by his headset.

He’s also got a whole media array plugged into the shared station, and appears to be wearing some sort of disgusting phone harness. As he jerks around, invading space, the OnePlus owner stares. Then, quick as anything, she leaves.

The ads do their job well. We resent the quiet, condescending stares of OnePlus’ protagonists, but recognize the situation they’re in—trapped way too close to people whose lives appear to be an expanding hot mess. In the mental battle between elitism and convenience, where are you most likely to bend?

Then again, if the paragons of preparedness shown here were real people, they probably would have done what lots of people do already—bought a mobile charger. It does the job just as well. And if you’re so wary of the chaos of human contact, you don’t have to stop at the plebeian charging station at all.

CREDITS
Client: OnePlus

Agency: Carrot Creative
Account Director:  Anne Flavin
Account Supervisor:  Rachel London
Producer:  Rucyl Mills
Creative Director:  Tyler Pierce
Art Direction:  Alex Rainone
Copywriter:  Bennett Einbender
Illustration:  Adam Lowe
Animation: Whitney Brown

Pulse Films LA
Executive Producer:  Casey Engelhardt
Producer:  Caroline Oliveira
Director:  Brendan Hearne
Director of Photography: David Wilson
Editor: Jarrah Oliveira