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July 7, 2005 12:15 AM

Broken: Stock photo choice

CingularDaniel writes:

Not exactly broken, but perhaps a bad stock photo choice. Does this person look happy to be a Cingular customer? She seems as ticked off as I do when I get my monthly statement. $106 for two lines and I still don't get good reception in my apartment? Sheesh.


turn the pic upside down and she'll be smiling

Posted by: Sergey at July 7, 2005 01:30 AM

Maybe the designer thought that paying bills isn't a funny thing and it wouldn't be believable if the woman smiles while paying her bill. Maybe the designers focus is a little bit displaced.

Posted by: Ulf Schubert at July 7, 2005 05:17 AM

Not to be a kill-joy, but if it's "not exactly broken", why is it on "this is broken"? If the amount showed $0 owed on the bill, that would be the kind of thing I'd expect to show up here, not just someone looking disappointed that they received a bill. What were you expecting, "Oh joy! A bill!"?

Posted by: sir_flexalot at July 7, 2005 07:16 AM

Can't believe I wasted my time reading this post nothing is wrong with the picture. She doesn't look upset and its a bill what do you want cartwheels?

Posted by: kent at July 7, 2005 09:06 AM

Seriously, I agree with sir flexalot. "This is Broken" seems to be intended for things that are actually broken, not things that are just humorous.

Posted by: TBB at July 7, 2005 09:16 AM

They could have used a different photo like someone enjoying talking on their phone or something other than a lady frowning at her bill. Then again, that photo pretty much sums up how I feel about Cingular.

Posted by: Faolan at July 7, 2005 09:19 AM

While it's perhaps not 'broken' in the traditional sense, this website is still deserving of notice on The whole is the sum of the parts: the choice of an inapppropriate stock photo breaks the design of the page and creates a distraction.

Posted by: Phil Hollenback at July 7, 2005 09:20 AM

I don't like Cingular. That's why we went with Verizon, no complaints about them.

Posted by: Jon at July 7, 2005 09:24 AM

No, this *is* broken, in at least two distinct (but related) ways.

First, the designer of this page felt compelled to put a photograph of *something* on it. (Because it's the *web* -- it's supposed to be *graphic*, right?) But they didn't have the budget, or the skills, or something, to find a suitable photo. Looks like they just did a clipart search on "paying bill" and picked the first thing that came up. So there's a broken process somewhere: a bad decision is made due to inappropriate resources. This reflects badly on Cingular. How many other bad decisions are being made for similar reasons?

Second, it's a broken customer experience. Very few people actually enjoy paying bills, but there's no need to remind the customer of the fact. I don't think anyone would necessarily drop Cingular just because of this photo, but it certainly doesn't go a long way towards building brand loyalty.

Besides all that, the expression on her face is priceless. Funny as all heck, and definitely belongs on "This is Broken".

Posted by: E.T. at July 7, 2005 09:36 AM

ET, you make good points, but the ad itself is still not broken. A bad picture (as a result of a bad decision to use it) doesn't make it broken. You can't assume that the web designer speaks for Cigular even if he/she works for them. Large companies often have the common syndrome where "the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing". It happens all the time. What's really broken is how large and ineffecient companies become. The picture displayed is just one of the many symptoms that arise as a result.

Posted by: TBB at July 7, 2005 02:14 PM

Wouldn't the ad be broken because the image is communicating a different message than the site is intended to? Like if you had a 'no smoking' sign featuring a big picture of a cigarette without the circle and line.

And it's just another example of how Cingular is broken. So broken that I have one of these on my car:

I can't get out of the contract, but I can definitely protest :o)

Posted by: shope at July 7, 2005 02:27 PM

Finally...truthful advertising.

Posted by: Bumble Bee Guy at July 7, 2005 03:20 PM

Finally...truthful advertising.

Posted by: Bumble Bee Guy at July 7, 2005 03:23 PM

This is neither broken nor funny. Is there just so little that's actually broken that we must have posts like THIS? Oh my god she's not smiling! I have seen funnier things on the back of a shampoo bottle.

BTW- Look at the laptop she's using. iBooks Rule!

Posted by: cheeseman at July 7, 2005 06:42 PM

I know what you mean about Cingular. We have two lines and pay 90 per month, for the worst reception in my home. You would think once they joined with AT&T it would be better. There are still places where my calls end within 5 miles of my home also. The phones always hurt my ears as they warm them up with their radio waves also. Who knows what it is really doing to my brain!!

Posted by: Mary at July 7, 2005 10:49 PM

Maybe the designer doesn't like Cingular either.

Posted by: ambrocked at July 8, 2005 01:50 AM

I like Cingular! My parents pay for it!

Posted by: Bob at July 8, 2005 09:31 AM

"And it's just another example of how Cingular is broken. So broken that I have one of these on my car:"

I ain't clickin' on it! I'll bet y'all a million bucks that there WILL be at least one "OMG" or "BS" or "SOB" or "GD" in there! On the recent Orbitz post, the link in the comments section takes you to a page that has "BS" in the Orbitz font!

Well, that's what I get for spending my first 18 years of life in a family where, if you swear, they'll be on you like a hot jackrabbit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

Back to reality!

P.S. This website is still great and funny, BTW.

Posted by: Seth Nelson at July 9, 2005 08:25 PM

I get that same e-mail for my Cingular bill and never thought anything about the picture they used. But as you said, I also don't get the best reception at my house (but very good reception everywhere else.)

Posted by: Zach Foster at July 12, 2005 12:00 AM

Looks like she's a little constipated!

I don't know if I'd have noticed this without your post, though!

Posted by: Jorge Ben at July 12, 2005 11:19 AM

Actually, if you want to see something "broken" on that ad... it seems that the wording they use for the bill pay service needs to be revised! If you see it, it says we will "Pay it on your behalf". Well, sheesh!!! I wish all of my bills would be paid on my behalf by someone else!!

Posted by: Websurfer at July 15, 2005 08:53 PM

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