Posts about customercials

Cable companies must die

Bob Garfield goes properly ballistic against Comcast. We all have our horrible stories of waiting for the cable guy but this is a classic and Bob does a good and anally retentive job of chronicling the horror, the horror. The only thing that would have made it better is if he had recorded it — Bob is, after all, a Big Media Guy — and turned it into YouTube hilarity.

Call me an optimist, but I believe that every company — every industry — that makes its money by screwing its customers is doomed. We, the customers, can now coalesce and gang up on them and show them who’s boss. Yes, I’m thinking Dell Hell and its apparent turnaround. But this works only if the companies live in fear of losing us — that is, if they have competition. And this, of course, is why cable companies, phone companies, insurance companies, power companies, and other monopolies and duopolies — not to mention government — keep thinking they have us by the balls, out of which they can squeeze their money. But I think their day will come. New technologies could kill or at least bring competition into telecommunications. The insurance mess is finally going to get so bad that government will have to step in to fix it. Politicians themselves will have to learn that we can use these new tools to defeat them. The question is how we can speed this process up.

Well, Bob Garfield is an expert in media — as the cohost of On the Media — and also in advertising — as the critic at Ad Age. So I’ll throw the challenge back to you, Bob: How can we set the agenda on our dear communications ball-squeezers? How can we make their lives a living hell, like they make ours? How can we put pressure on those in power to take the power away from these horrible companies? How can we show their would-be competitors that there’s a great opportunity to come in and displace these fat and venal fools?

Let’s invent antiadvertising. Or maybe it’s unadvertising. Or customertising. If they can use media and messaging, so can we.

So, Bob, why don’t you make a commercial — not just a blog post, but a cool and slick ad — telling people why Comcast must die (your words). If it’s good — which, if you make it, it must be — and if it says something people want to hear and say themselves — and we know everyone shares this sentiment — then they will pass it around. Thank you, Google and YouTube. Maybe we can make a contest of it: make commercials against your least favorite companies. Free creative. Free media.

What if customertising takes over and beats advertising? Then we’d all go seek out customerisements and the ones with the fewest screeds out there must be OK.

I hate to be so negative about this. But as you can see in Bob’s screedlog, as we all know, the anger and frustration just build up until you have to scream.

Well, from now on, instead of screaming, expose the fools. Record your entire encounter with the cable company — every phone call, every visit — and use their failures against them. Our day has come. Or is coming.

: LATER: I missed the obvious name — customercials.