Virgin Mobile’s recent “You Rule” campaign — targeting New Yorkers via niche neighborhood ads — has hit some well documented bumps in the road. Besides ads being installed in the wrong neighborhoods (Upper West Side ads on the Upper East Side, and vice versa), some found the ads to be offensive:
From the New York Times:
Karen Silverman, an East Village jeweler, was walking her Chihuahua down East Houston Street the other day when a red sign on a phone booth caught her eye. “Lower East Side, You Rule,” it declared. Below, the small print thanked the “bohemian” neighborhood for its artsy roots and for “keeping it real, even in the shadow of your new, overpriced condos,” before advertising pay-as-you-go cellphone plans from Virgin Mobile.
Ms. Silverman was not amused.
“Wow, that makes me feel dirty — what a way to whore out my neighborhood,” she said before marching off in disgust toward Katz’s Deli.
So, I came across the UES ad that currently sits on the bus stop at 79th and 2nd:
And to be honest, not only was I not offended, but I was a little disappointed in how little Virgin Mobile seems to know about the neighborhood. Sure, I’m willing to bet that advertising copy referring to “therapy” and “benefits,” as well as “worthy causes” and “patronage of the Arts” really hits home with those on Park Ave., but I’m not feeling it.
So here’s a better, more targeted, more niche specific ad for those on the Upper East Side not living on Park or Madison.
Upper East Side, You Rule:
Without you we wouldn’t have meth smoking surgeons, pervy ball itchers, “Upper East Side Rich White Vanilla,” OR a way to have our asses sculpted to look like Paris Hilton’s or Eva Longoria’s. And God knows New York has tons of rats and disgusting vermin running around in restaurants, but only you would brush that fact aside and continue to stand in a line 50 deep at Pinkberry filled with mice. Maybe that’s due to the shocking Con Ed grates on 63rd? Maybe you’re just trying to spend your money before it gets stolen by a socialite — whatever the reason — You Rule UESers. You and your poll-taking dog owners, bizarre special elections and mexican menu wars rule.
Ads hit phone users where they live [Business Week]
Virgin Mobile’s ‘You Rule’ Ads A Huge Failure [Gawker]
Virgin Mobile to New Yorkers: You’re stupid, buy our plans! [NY Press]
Virgin Mobile Installs NYC Neigborhood-Specific Ads In Wrong Neighborhoods [mediabistro fishbowl]
Hey Virgin Mobile, You talkin’ to me? Wireless phone ads target Island stereotypes [Staten Island Live]