Skip to content

The New Cola Wars

by gwolinetz on August 7th, 2007

When I was a kid, there were all kinds of commercials on the air about which cola was better: Coke or Pepsi. Each one of them had hundreds of taste tests around the country, spent millions of dollars in advertising and figured out nothing other than people are a) psychologically persuaded by the label and b) brand loyal. In reality, the two beverages taste different, but they’re different in the way that a chihuahua and a German shephard are different. That is to say, they’re different sizes, but at the end of the day, they’re both fucking dogs.

But the reality is there are two types of people in the world: those who are so fiercely loyal to their beverage of choice that they won’t drink the other one because they think it tastes like raw sewage and those who’ll drink whatever the hell you give them because they’ve got other less trivial things to worry about than what kind of fucking soda they drink.

These days, it’s the same thing, only now that Verizon’s in the TV business and the cable companies are in the phone business, these two are at each other’s throat over who provides the better service, who’s using fiber optics and who can come up with the most ridiculous line of advertising (Sir Charge? Really? That’s the best you could do?). And again, I get the sense that the results are going to be the same. I even feel myself drawing a line in the sand. I won’t ever switch to Verizon FIOS from my cable. I don’t want to lose the speed of the cable modem, so I’ll suck up the cable company’s sometimes shitty service and their “maybe we’ll show up at 12 noon or maybe we won’t show up at all” line of crap, just because I’m used to it.

The pervasiveness of the advertising is what really gets me though. Over the last few months, it feels like I can’t watch TV for more than 6 minutes without seeing one of these commercials. It was in this vein that I conducted an experiment. I work for a media company as my “day job,” so I have a TV in my office that’s on for most of the day. I selected a random hour of the day (5pm-6pm EDT) and a random network (a major cable network with sport and sport-related programming) and I counted exactly how many of these commericals that I saw.

Only one single commercial break went by without at least one of these commericals appearing. In total, I saw 10 cable (this includes Time Warner and Cablevision)/Verizon commercials. 10! It’s not really a huge surpise. Anecdotally, that’s what it felt like. But I have to wonder if these commercials have hit the point of saturation. At this point, it feels like election time and the campaign commercials. How effective is an advertising campaign that’s this pervasive? People have to be tuning them out at this point. When I see one, I sigh and see if there’s anything to flip to during commerical time, or I’m fast forwarding through something that I’ve DVR’ed.

I wonder how much these guys spend yearly to hold their customer base. I bet 10% of that money spent toward improving customer service would go a long way toward the same goal.

From → Fiber

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: XHTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS