T-Mobile’s JUMP! ad campaign with Bill Hader has met moderate success but now one of the ads is landing the company in some “hot water.” A letter written by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman ask the carrier to pull the ad featuring Hader and an attempted mugging.
“This ad is more than tasteless: These robberies often turn violent and have resulted in severe injuries and multiple deaths,” the letter said.
The ad itself features the former SNL star getting held up in a parking garage only to have the thief hand the phone back to Hader when he recognizes it’s an older smartphone of no value. Hader then attempts to turn the tables on the mugger and force the man to take his phone.
Gascon and Schneiderman criticize T-Mobile for making light of the phone theft issue and not doing more to cut smartphone theft.
“The many victims of theft do not need to relive these harrowing incidents by way of a television commercial, and T-Mobile should not be lending credibility to thieves by reenacting the scenes with a comedic slant,” the letter said.
For T-Mobile’s part, they take smartphone theft seriously and will continue working with the industry to deal with the issue.
“This collaborative work, including carriers, manufacturers, and other parties, aims to find new deterrents and other measures to thwart this kind of crime across the country,” T-Mobile said in a statement to CNET.
The full letter follows below:
John J. Legere
T-Mobile US, Inc.
12920 SE 38th Street
Bellevue, WA 98006
Dear Mr. Legere,
We are writing in regards to an offensive ad from T-Mobile featuring comedian Bill Hader. The ad, which shows Hader being robbed for his smartphone, seeks to make a joke of the growing epidemic of smartphone theft. This ad is more than tasteless: These robberies often turn violent and have resulted in severe injuries and multiple deaths.
Consumer reports estimates that more than 1.6 million Americans were victimized for their smartphones in 2012, many thousands of whom were presumably T-Mobile customers. What’s shocking is that despite the victimization of its customers, T-Mobile has not only refused to take steps to reduce theft, it’s making a joke of the situation in order to upsell its customers to newer phones.
We strongly urge you to pull these ads. The many victims of theft do not need to relive these harrowing incidents by way of a television commercial, and T-Mobile should not be lending credibility to thieves by reenacting the scenes with a comedic slant.
We also urge you to take action to implement effective theft deterrents. Relying on an ineffective solution such as the CTIA database or incremental theft deterrence features on the part of the manufacturers is not enough. What is T-Mobile doing to make its customers safer?
T-Mobile is profiting from the theft of smartphones and the victimization of its customers, and now its advertisements are undermining the seriousness of a crime which has reached epidemic levels. It’s time for telecommunications giants such as T-Mobile to step up and make meaningful progress towards implementing safeguards that protect consumers against these violent thefts. Anything less demonstrates a lack of concern for the safety of its customers.
San Francisco District Attorney
New York Attorney General