Sigh. I really, really dug the original “BFF Jill” spot that Verizon Wireless ran to promote their unlimited text messaging plans. It was simple, smart, illustrated the problem in a culturally relevant and humorous way and, let’s be honest, was a welcome break from the “can you hear me now?” guy.

Well, Verizon is back with a new spot starring Mom and Beth Ann (or Bethanne if they’re from Texas), plus Dad, brother Goober and Grandma Moses. It’s the same shtick as the first spot. Only less funny. Or not funny. It’s just like a typical Hollywood sequel. The first one was pretty cool, so let’s make the second one the exact same, only bigger! Woo-hoo! Heck yeah!


It just doesn’t work. With that many people – all of whom were apparently required by client mandate or copywriter ineptitude to have a line – the flow of the conversation is stymied. That’s right, I said stymied. And even if the actors could pull off the multi-tiered banter, the lines just aren’t funny. You can even feel the editor cringe at having to leave in extra frames just to stretch this thing to a :30 – it has worse pacing than the first Harry Potter movie.

But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself:

Now, let’s compare this to the Holiday Inn “Mark” campaign from a few years ago. It was, in essence, the exact same spot every time. Every single time. (And don’t harass me about when he moved to the Holiday Inn. I got it.) Same set up, same response, same cackling grandma. It shouldn’t have worked, but it did. The cast was brilliant, the writing had the required edge and the editing kept things popping.