Verizon's 5G Superbowl Ads Will Hype Nonexistent Firefighter Tech And A Barely Available Network

from the ill-communication dept

Speaking of over-hyping 5G: Verizon is planning to unload a significant mountain of 5G hype at the upcoming Superbowl, both via ads that will air during the game, but also with a deployment in the stadium itself. The company, still clearly sensitive to having been caught throttling and upselling firefighters during a recent historic California wildfire, is hoping to make its breathless adoration of firefighters a cornerstone of the ad campaign. Speaking to Ad Age, the company says its new ads will showcase 5G firefighter tech that doesn't actually exist:

"In one spot, Verizon shows a firefighter wearing augmented-reality-powered glasses as he fights his way through a smoke-filled building during what appears to be a rescue attempt. It’s initially difficult to see much of anything in the video, but that soon changes once his wearable digitizes the room, allowing him to see through smoke as if he was in the “Matrix.”

Such technology isn’t available today, but it is being developed at Verizon’s 5G Labs, which is an initiative within the company to develop use cases for 5G technology’s unprecedented speeds."

Of course even if this tech actually existed, it wouldn't be the 5G that lets you see through smoke, not that it matters to Verizon. When it comes to 5G hype, all the company has to do is point vaguely in the general direction of the company's "5G labs," which is more of a marketing construct than an actual serious lab, and reporters will sway unskeptically to the beat. For example Verizon has been repeatedly trying to claim that 5G will also somehow accelerate cancer cures, though when I've talked to actual medical professionals, they've noted that's not likely and you'd be better off donating Verizon's marketing budget to actual cancer research.

As we saw at CES, Verizon has this charming thing it does where it chastises other wireless carriers for over-hyping 5G, right before...over-hyping 5G. That tendency pops up again in the AdAge article:

“5G is much more than just speed,” McKechnie adds. “The competitors have muddied the waters of what the perception of 5G should be. We have developed applications and other programs that allow us to demonstrate what we are able to actually do and give people and fans a taste of what 5G is capable of."

Yes, what better way to show users what 5G can "actually do" than an ad featuring nonexistent, anti-smoke, 5G-powered, Neo Matrix goggles. Here on planet Earth, Verizon tells Ad Age it's planning to advertise 5G by offering it at the Superbowl itself. But because the millimeter wave technology Verizon is using can't penetrate walls or travel long distances, it can't guarantee that it can even cover the full stadium. You'll also have to pay Verizon extra to use it -- assuming you have one of the tiny number of expensive, large phones that can actually support a 5G signal anyway.

Again, 5G will be a very good thing when it arrives at scale several years from now, providing faster, more reliable (albeit probably more expensive and patchy) wireless networks. But it's not some mystical revolutionary panacea, and the vast chasm between marketing hype and reality continues to only associate 5G in the mind of American consumers with bluster and empty promises.

Filed Under: 5g, hype, superbowl, superbowl ad, wireless
Companies: verizon


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2020 @ 11:22am

    5G 8K cryptocurrent quantum computing psyco-babel.
    Haven't we been here before?

    Politics is a distraction, voting is selfish, and I love everyone...good night!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2020 @ 11:39am

    anyone remember when Verizon/Comcast/AT&T actually told the truth over anything? if you can, not only do you have a very good memory, inform the rest of us exactly what happened and when, please

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DB (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 11:52am

    Companies don't spend the millions it takes for a superbowl ad to tell the truth. They are either introducing a new product, reminding you to drink beer and eat junk food, or telling a Big Lie.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 11:56am

    I would love..

    I would love a copy of the Shareholders letters..
    REALLY.
    They are not supposed to lie to shareholders. Is this a law of a custom??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 12:19pm

    Using the people you screwed over as props, stay classy Verizon

    Such technology isn’t available today, but it is being developed at Verizon’s 5G Labs, which is an initiative within the company to develop use cases for 5G technology’s unprecedented speeds."

    Wait, 'we might develop it at some point in the future' counts now? Be right back, off to create a few ads boasting about the cure for cancer I might create at some point in the future to get a nobel prize or two.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2020 @ 12:52pm

      Re: Using the people you screwed over as props, stay classy Veri

      Someone should develop this tech before Verizon can get to market with their inferior version. Take the 5G bullshit out of what this really is: A useful application of existing tech.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2020 @ 2:20am

      Re: Using the people you screwed over as props, stay classy Veri

      Bobbert
      @Bobbert69572732
      ·
      Jan 24
      Replying to
      @zhusu
      Patent was awarded in 2018, originally filed in 2015 by Perbright institute. Perbright is funded thru the Gates Foundation. Let's connect the dots...

      coronavirus where's that cure?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2020 @ 2:39am

        Re: Re: Using the people you screwed over as props, stay classy

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2020 @ 1:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: Using the people you screwed over as props, stay cla

          About your sanity?

          Yes grave ones bro.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2020 @ 2:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Using the people you screwed over as props, stay

            Well you don't have to be enlightened just keep yourself in the dark. You're probably better off. I am very sane.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2020 @ 2:13pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Using the people you screwed over as props,

              Just trying to get a discussion going about the technical problems looming for all mankind to survive what may not be surviveable. Not trying to start panic. But when the rush for toilet paper and freez dried food is on, it will be too late for talking.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2020 @ 2:49pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Using the people you screwed over as pro

                I made a comment a month ago that aeronautics could scken us all over this planet because a deadly pathogen could be flown in 12 hours around the planet. Little did I know it was already in motion.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2020 @ 2:52pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Using the people you screwed over as

                  China is on lockdown. Does no one here want to discuss that impact?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2020 @ 2:54pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Using the people you screwed ove

                    What manufacturing would have to be restarted elsewhere for critical equipment that may not be available now?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2020 @ 2:56pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Using the people you screwed

                      5G hype is just that. This network will probably only be built to satisfy underground bunker complex needs.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Jan 2020 @ 1:17pm

    5G appears to be becoming Verizon and AT&T's answer to .Net.

    A catch-all for a technology stack and anything that might be remotely related to that stack (or not).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 29 Jan 2020 @ 1:40pm

    I have a suspicion

    that if Verizon had tried that throttling stunt in certain parts of Australia, they would have quickly found themselves in NEED of firefighters, but there wouldn't have been any around, for some reason.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Shel10 (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 5:22pm

    But we need to beat the rest of the world in deploying 5G - a barely existing standard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 29 Jan 2020 @ 6:19pm

    Q: Why is the government giving handouts of any variety to a corporation able to afford air time during "the big game involving a ball made of pigskin"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 30 Jan 2020 @ 12:53am

    anyone??

    Know the laws and regs for other nations and how they treat these services???
    I get a real good IDEA that the USA is REAL SOFT on these folks..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 30 Jan 2020 @ 3:47am

    This ad or one very similar was ran during last Sunday's NFL Pro Bowl. It did have small text with something like "Simulated Image, not available today, etc."

    Pretty bad when your Superbowl ad is a re-run about a fantasy product.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jim, 30 Jan 2020 @ 4:49am

    Uhh?

    Another reinvention of goo's glass? Or the gaming headsets? Interesting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 30 Jan 2020 @ 8:45am

    OH MY GOD!!! You used the S word in the headline. You will be receiving a nasty takedown notice from the NFL.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 30 Jan 2020 @ 9:28am

    Well what else are they supposed to do, show off the consumer-grade uses for 5G that not only don't exist but would overrun my monthly data cap in less than a minute? They're backed into a corner!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    You're a Gazelle! (profile), 30 Jan 2020 @ 9:56am

    Sounds Like a Bit of Obsfucation Going On

    Well, if they are going with smoke they should at least hold up a mirror as well!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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