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Obnoxious Qwest Commercials

My recent e-mail to Qwest Customer Service
If this doesn't apply to your department, please pass my comments along to your advertising agency.

I find the latest Quest television commercials objectionable and deceptive. Objectionable because they infer that a letter from one's mother or a phone call from one's sister is not only less important than a call or a bill from Qwest, but actually something unpleasant to be endured (commercial with girl picking up mail and reacting only to the Qwest bill and elderly couple racing to the phone during dinner hoping that the call is from Qwest and looking disgusted when it is only the wife's sister).

In the second commercial, the couple hesitates to answer the call while enjoying spareribs because "it's probably a telemarketer". But when the wife realizes "it might be Qwest!" they can't drop their dinner and get to the phone fast enough. It seems to me that a company that makes telephone solicitation calls during dinner IS a telemarketer, Qwest or not.

These commercials don't strike me as making a joke or playing for laughs . . . the people in your commercials seem seriously, deliriously happy and apparently have an unhealthy fixation with a telephone service provider.

The final blow was that, after viewing the commercial with the dog and the young woman whose life is apparently so small and pathetic that she can be elevated to a state of ecstasy by the receipt of a utility bill . . . and the follow-up that "Qwest has been making changes!" that supposedly are reflected in lower phone bills, I received my bill from Qwest which was HIGHER than it has been and included a note that said, "Oregon customers will notice an increase in the Taxes, Fees & Surcharges Summary with this bill."

So for Qwest to run ads saying that we will all be excited by our new bills because we'll like what we see is just baloney. For all these reasons I felt I had to write and let you know what my perception of your advertising campaign is.
Commercials suck 20.Feb.2004 21:36


The ones I hate more than that are the ones that feature some moron chewing crunchy food with thier mouth open. The ones that describe "crunchy" as a taste.

I'd like to find whoever came up with that concept and just choke them to death over and over. Who in thier right mind sees some pig eating fritos with thier mouth open with super loud crunch crunch noises in the background and says, "wow, I am hungry for a 'crunch' taste". How about the smell of frito breath, let me barf.

It literally makes me want to murder someone.

Petty 20.Feb.2004 21:59


Those commercials may be a bit annoying but are pretty petty, at least morally, compared to the Hummer ads. There are about 4 or 5 they use now and they run them every fucking 15 minutes. The video game one where the ding ding game then the Hummer appears on the video game screen and the little bullets dont stop it, then it shows a black Hummer accelerating at night across the desert. I have to switch the channel whenever it comes on now.

Walmart ads make me retch 21.Feb.2004 08:31


I watch CBS 5:30 news many days. (Dan Rather is cute and has been giving Bush some bad coverage.) Actually, it is time for a beer and that is the best tv news when you don't have cable. It is almost nauseating when they play the Walmart image building commercial that says some shit about Walmart means good jobs, etc. because Walmart believes in "good".

pull the plug 21.Feb.2004 09:22

kill your television

pull the plug on the propoganda box and free your mind!

Who Screens These Things? 21.Feb.2004 09:22

Wonder Girl

I enjoy well crafted, clever commercials that have a twist and don't insult the intelligence of consumers. But there are far too many commercials out there that are appalling - so appalling that you want to turn them off when you hear them coming, which is not what any advertising agency wants. So why are we bombarded with these snippets of stupidity? One of the all-time stupidest? The first Ford Taurus commercials which, instead of trying to sell the car on its merits, chanted: "Taurus for us! Taurus for us! Have you driven a Ford lately?" which tell you exactly nothing about the car itself. My impression was - here is an expensive car that looks like a bowling shoe. When the "Focus" came out, the audio was so garbled that we thought the car was a "Bogus" for weeks. Then there are the fingernail-on-the-blackboard cleaning product commercials which specialize in making women look like complete tools. Witness the "Swiffer" commercial where a manic woman jerks around a house and kitchen as though she is being operated by a puppeteer, compulsively cleaning as a voiceover chants, "You need Swiffer!". At the end we discover that she is so possessed by the Swiffer that she is ACTUALLY CLEANING HER NEIGHBOR'S HOUSE. How many of us just can't get enough of cleaning our own homes that we have to flit about cleaning the homes of others with our magical Swiffer? Swiffer sucks anyway because it is wasteful. What's wrong with a regular old mop that uses only soap and water?

I Think They Doth Protest Too Much 21.Feb.2004 09:28

North Portlander

Mother knows best! When I see a huge corporation rabidly running "service" commercials about how great they are and how much they are into customer service and taking care of their employees (Qwest, PGE, WalMart, Verizon) you KNOW there's a real problem there or a massive, bad customer perception that they are trying to counter. Try to send comments to any of these mega companies . . . they make it practically impossible to direct comments to the people who should receive them. Your e-mail will be directed to a customer service drone and probably go directly into the trash. BOD, Advertising, and personnel contact phone #s and e-mails are NOT included on websites.

It's Everywhere 21.Feb.2004 09:33


In the best of all possible worlds, Kill Your Television, your plan is a good one. But can you stop reading all newspapers? Listening to the radio? Looking at billboards while on the road? Sure, you can toss your junk mail and delete your spam, but you can't get away from commercials in American society. The BEST thing people can do is become discriminating consumers and critical thinkers. I have always thought that high schools should include a short 1-2 (at the least) day course for students on critical thinking and logical (and fallacial) arguments so that they are armed to differentiate crap from content.

unplug from the commercialization 21.Feb.2004 10:12

kill your television

forearmed asked:

"In the best of all possible worlds, Kill Your Television, your plan is a good one. But can you stop reading all newspapers? Listening to the radio? Looking at billboards while on the road?"

in a word...yes.

it is not easy, but possible. don't pay homage to it. since the t.v. is the most destructive instrument to the mind, this is an imperative place to start.

Kill your tv? 21.Feb.2004 11:42


Mostly I agree, but not quite 100%. I watch dvd movies and a tiny bit of news. That is all. It is a drug, but I believe intellegent moderation is ok.

Two points 21.Feb.2004 14:40


To the original poster: 1.) "infer" means to come to a conclusion; I think you were looking for the word "imply"; and 2.) I think your life is too cushy if you have the energy to get in a snit over a television commercial. Also, I think you should look up the word "irony" in the dictionary. The reason the reaction to the person's family is being contrasted with the reaction to the phone company is because the ad is trying, in an over the top way, to say we're so great, you'll blow off your family for us! It's meant to be a funny way to get your attention, not to be taken literally. And finally: OF COURSE it's a lie! All television is a lie, especially television commercials.

Yes, It's Cushy Here (Chuckle) 21.Feb.2004 18:31

Phone Home

Professor Me - I had to laugh at your description of my living situation as "cushy". The only reason I've had time to notice these commercials (plural, not one) lately is that I am unemployed and home for part of the day. And yeah, because of the unemployment situation I am angry about lots of things and stupid commercials are just one of them. From time to time I take vacations of up to two months away from any television or radio (just keep it turned off) but I find that I have to eventually come back to remain tuned in to what's happening in the sheeply mainstream. Forewarned is forearmed.

You wrote: "the ad is trying, in an over the top way, to say we're so great, you'll blow off your family for us!" You don't think there's something disgusting about even suggesting that in a humorous way? This is a telephone service provider, not an entertainment broker or the lottery (and I wouldn't blow off my family for those either). Re. trying for "over the top humor" -- I think they missed the mark. I don't perceive it as humorous at all - just weird and distasteful.

Advertising works.. 22.Feb.2004 05:21

Kolokea Hale blacksheep@noad.con

Repetitive messages work. That is why it is important to critique the ads that you see everywhere, including product placement in films. Listen to the message and think about what it is designed to say? What type of a result is the funder of an ad trying to achieve? Especially the above described PR ad for Qwest, which is a company that has image problems.
Next time you pick up a magazine, look at the ads and notice the complimentary copy that the magazine prints in exchange for ad revenue in the form a persuasive article. These articles usually follow the ad and dupe millions of people in thinking that the article is an objective and informative piece of journalism. The revulsion that many of us feel comes from the internal sense that the ad defies reality. Repeated enough, an ad will prompt you to buy or comply. And you will eventually want to do what these messages ask of you. Here is my ad for informed ad comsumption, read between the lines, analyze images and beware of subliminal messages. Advertising: Coming to a low orbit sky banner near you! Baaaaahhhhh!! Baaa..

Those ads are 22.Feb.2004 14:51


Those ads are stupid and not funny, but not worth being offended over -- unless you plan on writing every single advertiser and waging a crusade against commercials that don't depict life as you see it.

Sounds like you have too much time on your hands.

P.S. I am not a professor but I do believe that you should know what the words you choose mean.