The Words Agency

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Wrong number

There's a shiny new ad campaign running for a popular mobile phone which probably looked great on the agency's mock-ups, but did no one put any thought into what it was really saying?

The slogan is "Impatience is a virtue". Well, it's provocative enough, provocatively stupid. Let's just think for a minute about what it's saying. Impatience equals: not prepared to wait, not prepared to settle for less, therefore dynamic, therefore good.

Is it? Impatience is what brings us road rage, salmonella from badly cooked barbies, the obnoxious little man who is determined to push his way in front of you in a queue of two. Impatience is intolerant, impetuous, prone to act without thinking and usually remarkably unpleasant. Is that really a good product image?

You can almost hear the pitch: It's cutting edge, counter-intuitive, so different it'll make a difference."

No, it's sad, and shallow. It's simply the wrong word for the purpose. And it's a dangerous one for a phone company: impatience is having to wait too long on the customer helpline.