While the National League was busy trouncing the American League last night, mobile and wireless companies were slugging it out between the innings. The game’s advertising lineup provided a visual overview of this summer’s biggest developments in mobile — from Samsung’s Galaxy S III to Verizon’s new pricing plan.
Samsung touted the Galaxy S III’s photo and video sharing features with an ad that showed a user taking a video with her phone and sharing it on a giant TV screen. Meanwhile Verizon’s “revolve” campaign highlighted its new “share everything” pricing plan. And T-Mobile USA, which beefed up its 4G network in and around Kauffman Stadium to prepare for the game, aired a fast-paced, futuristic spot that used telltale flashes of hot pink to cue viewers about what exactly was being advertised: T-Mobile’s nationwide coverage.
Perhaps the most memorable MLB ad gimmick was Dish Network’s “Phil Schifly” ad. The popular spot features a man who fakes his own death and attends his own funeral disguised as someone named Phil Schifly. Last night, the ad was immediately followed by a closeup shot of a man who appeared to be none other than Phil Schifly, trying in vain to hide his face in the stands at Kauffman Stadium.
While the Dish Network ads make a lot of viewers smile, Dish itself is bringing frown lines to the faces of a lot of media executives. Earlier this year the company introduced the Hopper, a set-top box with an automatic ad-skipping feature which has triggered lawsuits from the major broadcast networks. “The Hopper was clearly a monster the minute it was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show back in January, with twice the capacity of DVRs from other operators,” said Tom Adams, senior principal media analyst for U.S. media at IHS. “With AutoHop, consumers can automate the ad-skipping process whenever they fire up a show on which the feature is enabled, electronically detecting the switch from programming to advertising, and blackening out the screen briefly while it scans forward to the program. And with an ever-increasing percentage of viewing occurring on a time-shifted basis via DVRs, this likely-to-be-very-popular innovation is what spurred networks to turn their lawyers loose on Dish.”
Dish is trying to build an LTE-Advanced network using S-band spectrum in the 2 GHz range. The company hopes to get approval from the FCC by year’s end. However, Dish must also wait for the 3GPP standards board to create standards for the use of LTE-Advanced in the S-band. So it does not plan to launch its network until 2016.
Follow me on Twitter.