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August 16, 2004 12:01 AM

Broken: Dumb Nextel cell phone ad

nextel1nextel2Here's an ad I saw here in Manhattan. I think it's trying to get people to buy a Nextel cell phone, but it only succeeded in confusing me.

    "It has a special get-to-the-point button."

Huh? First of all, there's no such button on the phone (see second photo). Second of all, what in the world are they talking about?!


Are you really that clueless? Seriously?

Posted by: Daniel Drucker at August 16, 2004 12:45 AM

Here's a hint, the person's thumb is on it.

Posted by: bob at August 16, 2004 01:02 AM

The "get to the point button" is probably Nextel's only selling point: the "push to talk" walkie-talkie like feature. But I think that the poster's confusion is _exactly_ what is broken about this ad. It only makes sense to people who already know enough about Nextel phones to know what the heck it means. So the advertisement only takes up space, it doesn't increase knowledge or awareness of the brand at all.

(As an aside, I have a Nextel because work pays for it. It's the least reliable and lowest quality cellular phone I've ever used.)

Posted by: Logan at August 16, 2004 08:17 AM

Lots of ads only make sense to people that already know the brand. It doesn't just take up space -- it targets one group of customers. Nothing unusual about that.

Posted by: mendel at August 16, 2004 11:27 AM

But is it trying to sell Nextel to people that already use Nextel? It does seem like they are targeting the wrong crowd.

I didn't get it either, but then, I've never used a Nextel phone. I assumed the "get-to-the-point" button was the "end call" button.

Posted by: James Craig at August 16, 2004 12:19 PM

I think it's a tie-in to some TV/radio ads they're running.

Posted by: Menolly at August 16, 2004 01:59 PM

*I* am that 'clueless', yes - no shame there, in this age of information overload.

And vindicated too, since as of this comment, no one seems to have better than a theory as to what exactly they *are* referring to.

Don't be so c0ck-sure.

Posted by: DaveC426913 at August 16, 2004 03:38 PM

It probably is a joke about how a long conversation can get boring, and a "get-to-the-point" button would be helpful, and make the phone better.

Posted by: Joel K at August 16, 2004 03:43 PM

Essentially, Nextel is trying to position themselves as a cell phone company specifically for businesses, as opposed to the general-public providers like Verizon, Sprint, et al.

Unfortunately, they're kind of flailing at this point, because (a) their coverage continues to be terrible, (b) even where they have full coverage, their chosen transmission protocol is so low bandwidth as to be nearly unusable in any but the most perfect acoustic conditions (unfortunate, considering how they try and target industries like construction), and (c) they're no longer the only provider of PTT service.

I had a Nextel phone for six months in 2001. I actually won all my money back in small claims court - including the cost of switching back to Verizon. They were /that/ bad.

Posted by: Daniel Drucker at August 16, 2004 07:20 PM

I've see a few Nextel TV ads featuring the "get to the point button" and the "get it done" concept. It refers to the walkie-talkie push-to-talk feature, as others have mentioned above. The ads are entertaining, but never explain how or why a walkie-talkie feature gets to the point or gets it done. But I did find the explanation in this New York Times article (purchase required).


" [There is] no airtime spent on pleasantries like "Hey, it's me. How ya been?"... Push-to-talk ... saves money and conversation time. Nextel's statistics show that on average, a push-to-talk call lasts only a quarter as long as a cellular call. Maybe there's not much technical difference between a cellular speakerphone and a walkie-talkie exchange, but there's obviously a psychological distinction. You just get your business done more efficiently using push-to-talk."

Posted by: Bob Sifniades at August 17, 2004 10:09 AM

Perhaps the intention was to spark conversations like this one, thereby increasing the amount of time you spend thinking about their get-to-the-point button until you eventually figure out that it is the PTT. If so, it worked.

Maybe Nextel is thinking that their users who are not smart enough to figure it out might internalize the "get to the point" mentality stop having chatty conversations thereby decreasing Nextel's cost of goods sold (airtime).

A cheaper way to call your users stupid, decrease airtime, and even provide a public service all at the same time would be to start advertising the little-known hang-up-and-drive button.

Posted by: dilbert at August 17, 2004 07:37 PM

Guess the ad could be better. Interesting how some professional posters get on here to promote Verizon. Verizon sucks where I live and Nextel rules. Additionally, Nextel's PTT is still the market leader with 12 Million people to talk to, who will I talk to at Verizon when it took 12 seconds for the return chirp to work... it was so pathetic. In any case Nextel seems to be banking on it's popularity in certain circles and perhaps should broaden its horizons as suggested here. I would rather support an American-owned company than one owned by Vodaphone.

Posted by: Jay Mancuso at August 17, 2004 08:16 PM

Whether it's cell phone service, DSL service, long distance service, Internet access, or any other offering from a post-deregulation telecomm service providers, I've discovered a very useful rule: The quality, support, and usability of a vendor's service offering is directly inverse to the splashiness and ubiquity of the advertising for that service.

The corollary of this first rule is that the inverse relationship between advertising and quality / support becomes exponentially inverse when direct mail advertising is used.

Posted by: S.F. Ricardo at August 17, 2004 09:32 PM

I have Nextel, and before I had Nextel this sign would have held no mystery to me, then again I am have been around and in the construction industry. Perhaps everyone here has heard of anecdotal evidence. You can find as many good or bad testimonies for whichever phone company you desire. ie: I have had horrible experiences with both Verizon and Cingular over billing me and telling me it was my problem. Nextel overbilled me once and actually lowered my bill because of it. My coverage for Nextel is exceptional and Im usually the last one in a given group without reception in rural areas.

Posted by: stnjohnson at August 18, 2004 07:43 AM

I have to defend the original poster. I *have* a Nextel phone, and I wasn't immediately sure from the image what it was talking about either.

In fact, I'm still not convinced. It's not that obvious they mean the Direct Connect button. Nothing really draws the eye to the button under the thumb. It's not obvious like those Photoshop images of computer keyboards with a "Bullsh*t" key.

Posted by: Citizen Of Trantor at August 25, 2004 02:51 PM

It has eleven buttons, not including the numbers. I wonder which one I push to "get to the point"?

Posted by: Alyons at August 25, 2004 09:38 PM

Daniel Drucker just lied to you guys. There has never been a case against any Cell phone provider were the client used the svc's and got all there money back. Please look this up if you do not believe. Nextel Boost 800/900 band with. Nextel is a smaller company then Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T. Nextel does have the Largest National Digital Network (13% more than Sprint). Nextel is tied with Verizon for first with customer service. Nextel has the lowest BBB and FCC complants.

Posted by: Chris at September 4, 2004 10:00 AM

Get-to-the-point button? I'll kick a cell phone advertiser in the butt for free.

Posted by: John Garratt at September 21, 2004 03:31 PM

I think the point to this long string of conversations is this: Anyone who would spends this much time conversing about a ad might have to much time on there hands.

Posted by: cc at October 6, 2004 03:02 PM

u are a dumb person. if u have ever used a nextel phone, u would know about the fricken PTT button. ure wasting message space my frend.

Posted by: david at October 11, 2004 05:04 PM

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