The Creature In The Light Blue Suit
No man should ever wear an entirely light blue suit. There might be a book of great advice like this, called “Awkward Things To Avoid” that my cable company, Cox Communications, got a hold of for its advertising campaigns.
Here’s a company that breaks every rule of good advertising, creating the ultimate catalog of mediocre, awkward television ads, despite being in the TV business. Probably because they’re not really in the TV business. They just use those old cables to compete with Netflix.
There’s the one where the clever college student ponders silence, which his girlfriend explains is just “buffering.” The company has nothing to sell; they just criticize Verizon, who’s FIOS network outclasses them in every way.
There’s the one where they introduce a remote control you can talk to. How could I have lived so long without that?
The basic cable lineup isn’t good enough to talk with anybody about, not even an inanimate plastic thing! In their latest spot, Cox’s creature talks into a Verizon remote to prove it doesn’t hear him. Astonishing stuff. These ads are even worse if you consider they could just skip them entirely and lower their Internet price instead, so I can watch Netflix!
There’s the older guy with the weird voice explaining he has a lot of “enthusiasm” because someone got a Cox bundle.
Money Spent Poorly
These are not quirky ads; Old Navy does quirky. J.G Wentworth’s “877-CASH-NOW” rap song is quirky. Kentucky Fried Chicken is quirky. The Cox ads are oddballs, cut-price spots done in somebody’s basement. The industry term is “bad quality.” They’re ads with no message at all. The company with nothing to say!
These (if you were looking for them) are the worst ads on TV.
The real problem is the company has nothing to advertise, but they own the service so they might as well use it themselves, by making ads for themselves, like kids left home unattended! They show these ads, mostly, to people who already subscribe to their services.
The Cox Chameleon Won’t Die
Television’s an afterthought for Cox and their Internet doesn’t compete, while they embarrass themselves with poor advertising. Aren’t we in America, where companies like this fall to extinction? Aren’t we on Earth, where advertising has the past few years become aggressively sophisticated? Why on earth is Cox still alive?
Cox would have died long ago, or been eaten by Verizon, if not for municipal laws that make it and other incumbent cable television companies miniature dinosaurs still walking the Earth; very hard to kill! The “monopoly” laws were created to prevent multiple-competing wiring systems in city streets; only one electric, phone and TV provider is allowed in any neighborhood in most U.S. cities and towns.
But cable companies became over the years, by public demand, Internet service providers. Municipal monopoly laws don’t cover ISPs, so Cox keeps streaming TV to, as a TV provider, keep its monopoly.
If that’s not enough, they don’t provide very good Internet or TV. They just linger, taking stabs at Verizon in awkward ads they air constantly on TV.
And if that’s not enough, the little grandfathered chameleon-that-could is swiping blindly, for no good reason, at Google, too!
It’s the most awkward thing Cox has done yet! Like the Energizer bunny this little lizard is still trying! They use a technique you might find appropriately annoying to intercept Internet searches away from the G-Man.
Cheap Shot Search Site Stealing Isn’t Illegal Yet
I’ll explain how to get Google back. There’s no reason Cox should have created the intercept system; I’m certain they were just copying Verizon. But Verizon shouldn’t be doing it either; at least they should make it easier to turn off.
The “intercept system” is a strange invention that takes you away from your chosen search service, like Google. How could that happen? Legally?
It’s a trick! All you have to do is type one letter wrong, and it’ll try and “do you a favor” and tell you nothing has been found. You’ll notice right away you’re no longer on Google if that’s where you started. Cox calls it “enhanced error results,” which is an awkwardly-clever way to just steal you from Google. A real BS move!
Gracefulness was never Cox’s strong suit!
If you’re using Google over a Cox connection, Cox uses this “misspelling” loophole to intercept you. It’s not helpful in any way to any Internet user.
Here’s How To Turn It Off
Notes: In the spirit of awkwardness, you might put on a (very) light blue jacket and pants (or at least some stripes!); and you might have to hit the button more than once; it may not work the first time. On a successful button hit you’ll get a confirmation asking “Are you sure you want to proceed?” Hit “Yes I do.”
The final confirmation says this: “You have successfully opted out of the Enhanced Error Results Service.”
Here is the link:
Please be nice. They just wanted to be a TV provider; they never intended to be an ISP at all! Forgive the clumsy implementations, poor executions and fashion faux pas.
But definitly opt out! There is no service being provided to customers by this spelling-error-fake-out page. And while you should certainly be nice, there’s no reason to feel sorry for the culprits. Cox provides service by default; there’s not much the company needs to do to continue to be protected by municipal communications laws and keep treading water.
They should gracefully shut up, though, and just appreciate their monopolies.
Soon, when it’s time for a new TV commercial … I hope they work the pastels and plaids. If they really want to do the public a service as a television provider, they should make a commercial that teaches people how to spell. Apparently spelling things wrong is a big problem.