Verizon 4G LTE Electrifies My Brain

If you’re a marketer and you like to “push the envelope” every once and again you’re probably familiar with the phrase, “you better check with legal.”  Now, when I say “push the envelope” don’t think i’m trying to play the part of a renegade, uber creative who likes to sling 1,000 adjectives into a paragraph.  When it comes to legal, “pushing the envelope” can be a matter of how many times you can say “very” or if you can put the word “super” in front of “awesome”.

Does legal review and their imposed limitations damage the overall creative impact? yes.  Is legal review necessary? unfortunately the answer to that question is also yes.

I’ve experienced the legal review process for approving ads and there is always one truth: if there’s a close call on any decision, legal will err on the side of  (hold on to your hats for this surprise!) caution.  That’s completely  understandable from their perspective, why would they risk their jobs to improve the creative?

The most pervasive case of legal erring on the side of caution is routinely demonstrated by TV commercial disclaimers.

We’ve all seen the phrase “Professionals. Do Not Attempt” lightly printed at the bottom a TV commercial.  Usually it’s printed on an ad featuring something slightly dangerous e.g. a Levi adorned cowboy riding on top of a car or a BMW in a typical car chase, but this recent commercial from Verizon Wireless takes disclaimers to a whole new level:

This goes beyond erring on the side of caution and lands in legal crazytown.

Most likely the Verizon legal department was concerned that the following series of events would occur after the commercial was viewed by irresponsible teenagers. (Note: teenagers are the people legal is always assuming will behave poorly.  Thanks, Jackass!)

Legal concern:

  • teenagers rent a billion dollar military airplane (probably off of eBay or Craigslist)
  • those teenagers INVENT a technology that allows them to bind light/power/electricity into orbs (take that science!)
  • those damn teenagers decide they’re going to grab their power orbs and  HALO JUMP into the atmosphere (they already have the plane and the science so why not!)
and when you think those f*cking teenagers can’t do anything crazier:
  • they start hurling orbs across the heavens like the ne’er-do-well Einstein-Zeus bastard children that we god damn know they actually are.
Recommendation:  place liability disclaimer in advertisment.
– Verizon Legal
Good work, Verizon.  Your disclaimer taught me that teenagers are not trustworthy. They will try anything and we need to keep our eyes on them at all times.
I leave you with a clip that is dedicated to every teenager in America by every legal department in America:

Disclaimer: i am not a lawyer. Stew Over does have a lawyer on staff but he was intentionally not consulted about this analysis.
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