Carriers ruin Drake's 'Hotline Bling' in T-Mobile's Super Bowl ad

Technically Incorrect: For its Super Bowl push, the uncarrier shows how Drake's music can be unblinged by its rivals.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Drake. Here to listen and change his cell phone lyrics.

T-Mobile/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Famous people love the Super Bowl.

Not merely because they get free tickets, but because they get to star in the Super Bowl ads.

By my calculation, around 33 celebrities will be gracing your screens in ads on Sunday. For T-Mobile, it will be Drake.

The un-carrier revealed its Super Bowl effort on Tuesday. Stunningly, it's critical of its rivals.

Here is Drake singing his anthem to cellphone calling. Confronting him, however, are executives of an unnamed carrier wanting to tamper with the words.

Far be it from me to suggest which carrier is being mocked here. I will say, though, that Drake's set is yellow. A sort of Sprintish yellow.

"When you say 'call me on my cell phone,' just add 'device eligible for upgrade after 24 months,'" says one helpful executive.

Another suggests adding that streaming music will incur data charges. Well, of course. Because T-Mobile is very different, the company says.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere has trumpeted Binge On -- which claims to allow you to stream all you want for free without suffering data charges -- as a breakthrough, saying that customers are thrilled. It's part of the company's strategy to change the relationship between carriers and their customers.

My colleague Roger Cheng thoroughly summed up the pros and cons of Binge On. Importantly, the Federal Communications Commission hasn't yet declared itself on such services, though it's investigating their ramifications.

A Stanford University study, however, described Binge On as "likely illegal." The study insists that Binge On "stifles free expression," "harms innovation," "limits user choice" and "distorts competition."

Oh, but we're talking about advertising here. That usually distorts the competition and the rival carrier looks mighty silly here.

In the Super Bowl, however, competition is fierce. Will this ad stand out? Well, it's got Drake in it. Everyone loves Drake, right?