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Verizon gets Ricky Gervais to make jokes about Sprint

Technically Incorrect: In a new campaign, the celebrated comedian presents Verizon's case for alleged superiority.

2 min read

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


Ricky Gervais. Shilling for Verizon.

Verizon/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

The message about superior coverage has been peddled by Verizon for many a year.

It's getting a little tired.

What to do when you have nothing better to say? You get celebrated uncomfortable straight-talker Ricky Gervais to carry your load.

Of course, you have to pay him a load to do it, but here he is in a new campaign for Verizon talking about an old selling point.

In one ad, he talks about speed.

Gervais admits that all carriers claim they have a fast service. He says that Verizon tested this and found that one of its rivals only had a faster service in "Kansas City and a few other places."

To whom could he be referring? Surely not Sprint, which happens to have its headquarters in, oh, Kansas City. (He could, as one reader pointed out, be referring to this 2014 test that concluded T-Mobile is actually the fastest there too.)

And then he suggests that you don't want to ever buy a parachute that only works around Kansas.

Sound advice, to be sure.

In another ad, Gervais shows how some companies display what purport to be coverage maps and then add, in very small print, that these maps aren't an accurate depiction of coverage.

The map is in yellow. Oddly enough, yellow happens to be Sprint's corporate color. Subtlety is never lost on ad people.

Recently, Verizon has taken shots at several of its rivals for the alleged deficiencies in their service. T-Mobile, for example, decided to fight back with an ad featuring Steve Harvey.

Verizon must believe that Gervais' tell-it-how-it-is persona will help its brand. It might. And Gervais has proved that he can be a find spokesman in ads -- for example, with his Australian work for Netflix.

Still, there's something a touch awkward seeing the rebel in ads for the big bully.

Perhaps Gervais would like to be a part of the establishment finally. Next, hosting the Oscars?