I've commented a few times in the past about how an ad has reminded me of a Saturday Night Live parody commercial. But I'm pretty sure this is the first time in the five years I've been writing this blog (yep, we're FIVE years old now) that an ad has actually stolen its entire concept from one of those SNL ads.
Did Verizon think they were just going to get away with this? Did they think no one would remember the Bad Idea Jeans spot from SNL because it aired so long ago? Guess what: WE REMEMBERED. The top two comments on YouTube both call Verizon out for being ripoff artists, which means that not only did two people notice it, but so did dozens of other people who subsequently voted up those two comments.
The real question is: does Verizon think they were just doing a "playful homage"? I mean, the similarities are hardly just limited to the basic "bad idea" concept:
They're both playing basketball too! Of course, that makes me think that Verizon wasn't trying to hide anything, and that they just thought we'd find it funny if they referenced a previous bit of humor. The problem is that while I'd expect that from, say, some douchebag's internet ad blog, I tend to think that maybe professional ad writers could actually come up with their own jokes. (Don't bother pointing out how they had to write new things that were bad ideas and how that counts as coming up with jokes. For starters, anyone with a sense of humor could come up with three or four "things that are obviously bad ideas." Then there's the fact that Verizon's are pretty toothless - granted, this is a national ad campaign and not a late-night comedy show - and the fact that there seems to be a pretty clear thematic connection between some of the jokes, like the two that are about the guy's kids or the one about where surgery is dirt-cheap - clearly some third-world country - and the original one about Haiti.) Everything about this ad screams laziness, if not just outright plagiarism. It's like whoever had the Verizon account woke up late on the day of the pitch meeting, ran out the door without his notes, and had to make something up for the client on the spot.
Oh, and extra negative points to this current Verizon series for reusing multiple commercial actors I already hate, including the doofus from the State Farm "Journey" ad right below this post and, in another ad in the series, the biggest of the three idiots from those old Raisin Bran Crunch spots. Like it wasn't bad enough they were already reusing someone else's concept.