Boost, Davis Flip Cell Phone Etiquette

For all the concerns about appropriate cell phone etiquette in today’s society, perhaps there are indeed times when it’s more appropriate to check one’s phone rather than engaging with the people around you. 

In a new digital effort, Boost Mobile leverages its sponsorship of NBA star Anthony Davis, using the New Orleans forward to admonish not the people using their cell phone rather than engaging in the real world, but rather the people who have made the real world boring.

In one commercial (from agency 180LA), Davis portrays a sushi chef eavesdropping on two patrons’ conversation. As one patron drones on about feeding his pet fish (an admittedly awkward sushi conversation), the other puts on his headphones and dials up the Samsung’s Milk music service. As the first patron becomes annoyed, Davis reveals himself and suggests the man had better up his game if he wants to compete with Milk’s 13 million songs and Boost’s unlimited data package. “He doesn’t have time for your fish stories, Ben,” Davis says before greeting another customer in Japanese.



In a second commercial, Davis appears in a college classroom, suggesting to the professor that his droning will never measure up to Milk and Boost’s offerings. Davis and the professor engage in a stare-off as the spot concludes. 

“Boost has always stood for the unexpected,” Peiti Feng, director of brand strategy and marketing communications for Boost Mobile, tells Marketing Daily. “Even though [public cell phone use] is frowned upon in a lot of situations, we’re calling it out and speaking the mind of a lot of people.”

The digital-only effort is specifically designed to highlight the availability of the Samsung Galaxy 5 smartphone, and timed to take advantage of the upcoming NBA Finals, Feng says. 

“We thought it would be nice to leverage Anthony Davis to get the attention to the product specifically,” she says. “We wanted our above-the-line efforts to focus on our new rate plans, but we felt like leveraging Anthony for the Galaxy would get out virally.”

Boost is showcasing the videos on its social media channels, including YouTube, Facebook and other social platforms, and Davis is promoting the spots through his social media accounts as well.

The Davis campaign is separate from a new campaign Boost launched encouraging consumers to vote for their new spokesperson, Feng says. They do, however, share the same brand promise of Boost being a consumer advocate, she says.

“There is no connection between the two campaigns,” she says. “However, they both ladder up to the same Boost promise – that we are the consumer champion that gives people the choices they deserve.”

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