Sprint Pulls Ad Featuring Customer Calling T-Mobile “Ghetto”

Sometimes we just want to throw our heads back and shout at the advertising powers that be, and ask them what the heck they were thinking when they do boneheaded things. Like an ad Sprint just rushed to pull after only a few hours online Tuesday, which features a white customer calling competitor T-Mobile “ghetto.”

In the ad, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure sits down with what appears to be a focus group, and asks a customer what she thinks of Sprint’s rivals, T-Mobile especially.

“I’m going to tell you a carrier name, and I want you to basically tell me what comes to your mind,” he says in the video, with the words “Real questions. Honest answers” popping onto the screen.

“T-Mobile. When I say ‘T-Mobile’ to you, just a couple of words?” Claure asks.

The woman he’s talking to replies, “Oh my God, the first word that came to my mind was… Ghetto!”

“That sounds, like, terrible,” she says as the rest of the group laughs. “I don’t know … People who have T-Mobile are just, like… Why do you have T-Mobile?”

Terrible, indeed, responded many people on Twitter upon the ad’s release yesterday, calling it “racist” and “disrespectful” among other things.

At first, Claure defended the ad, saying it wasn’t meant to offend anyone and was perhaps a “bad choice” of words from the customer. Badly chosen words that the company decided to include in an online ad, as one Twitter user pointed out.

The non-apology failed to appease many customers, however:


A few hours into the backlash, Claure offered a Twitter apology, saying the company had pulled the ad:

That still wasn’t enough for some, with one customer calling the entire thing “disrespectful”:


Over on the T-Mobile side of the pond, CEO John Legere — who usually has plenty to say on any given topic — remained pretty tight-lipped, telling followers, “I don’t think I need to respond…”

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