Darcie is concerned

From Darcie Burrell



This probably says too much about my (lack of?) a social life, but I’ve become increasingly concerned about the “Not Brad” of this Verizon commercial: 



What does she mean by “Not Brad”? Why not Brad? My friends and I have come up with several theories:


a) She is listing the men she will call back: “Justin, Troy, Brad,” when a slightly less attractive Brad walks by. She says hi to him, and then quickly reassures the viewer that this is NOT the brad she is going to call back.

b) She is listing the men when the Brad on her list walks by. She realizes that, on second thought, she doesn’t want to call him back.

c) She’s listing the men when she sees Brad approaching, and knowing that he expects her to call him back, adds his name to the list. She then reassures the audience that she does not want to/will not call him back.


A c supporter would like to note the sad tone with which she says “Not Brad.” An a supporter would like to note her hand motion as a physical way of saying “No way I’d ever call this Brad.” And, as a b supporter myself, I offer you this email as evidence to my supreme rightness:


“As this commercial was created by a marketing team, I am sure that this line was meant to be vague, and open to interpretation by the customer. This is an effective technique in marketing to make sure that as many customers as possible can relate to the character in the commercial.


To answer your question, I’m not positive which interpretation is “correct.” I have conducted an informal poll amongst my peers and we think that “b” is probably how the line was meant to be interpreted. Of course, there is really no “wrong” interpretation when it comes to advertising.


Darcie, I am sorry that I’m not able to give you a more definite answer. I hope there were no monetary bets hanging on my response! We appreciate you as a customer, and thank you for using Verizon Wireless. Should you have additional questions or feel your concerns are not resolved, please reply to this e-mail.






Verizon Wireless

Customer Service” 


I think it’s pretty clever to leave a commercial “open to interpretation,” despite how irritating it can be. I mean, I’m not running out to buy a new Verizon phone or telling all my friends to switch to Verizon or anything, but I SOUGHT OUT this commercial on YouTube and then replayed it over and over and over… Pretty effective! 




3 Responses

  1. I actually am really annoyed by this myself, and my friends and I have talked about it as well. Why not Brad?? What’s wrong with Brad? A few of my friends thought similarly to you and your friends that she saw him and decided he didn’t look good enough to call and took him off her list. I thought that maybe she had to call people back, but once she saw Brad she no longer had to call him back because she had already seen him…who knows.

    As far as an advertising technique, I dislike commercials that attempt to stick in viewers’ heads through tactics such as annoyance or ambiguity. I suppose it does work, since we are still talking about the commercial, but on the other hand, we’re not really talking about Verizon, are we? We’re talking about Brad.

  2. Transformational advertising is pretty much by definition open to interpretation. If we as individuals can each find something to relate to in the ad, it has a better chance of having an effect.

  3. I always figured since the character was breaking the 4th wall and talking to the audience, while she’s listing off “Justin, Troy, Brad” and comes across a guy named Brad, “Hi Brad,” she then feels the need to let the audience know that that Brad is not “Brad”

    …because it’s not exactly a unique name.

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