Sprint’s New Framily Frobinsons Commercial

Melissa Meschke Marketing, Michigan Creative

Over the last week, Sprint has been heavily pushing it’s new ‘Framily Frobinsons’ marketing campaign. The two new ads feature a heavily mismatched family with a French speaking daughter, a hamster father, a son with a southern drawl, an African American grandpa, and an all too normal seeming mother, just to name a few.

Curious of where this bizarre campaign came from, I began to do some research. According to WSJ, the new campaign is based off of Sprint’s Japanese parent company SoftBank’s commercial with a dog as the head of the family.

This campaign has seen wide success in Japan and Sprint is now trying to introduce the new campaign into the United States. They have plans to create several of these commercials with a developing story line and even have celebrity appearances planned.

This new campaign replaced Sprint’s original advertising for the ‘Framily’ plan which featured a group of people standing in front of photographers that add and subtract members of their ‘Framily’ to reach the right amount of people and get the best deal. Sprint’s chief marketing officer Jeff Hallock says, “that work will not be returning, but the strategy is exactly the same.”

But is it the same? Will Americans find this new campaign as relatable as the last?

It’s always a risk to assume that campaigns will work across cultures. Values, perceptions, and general humor is simply just different between Japan and the United States. Many Americans will refer to Japanese game shows as bizarre and just plain weird. I’m sure Japan thinks we have weird TV as well-imagine what they think of Honey Boo Boo and Big Brother. So why would commercials be the same when TV shows themselves are so different?

I do think that Americans will find the diversity relatable in this campaign-things like having an adopted son or daughter and bi-racial mixes within the family. That being said, will this much diversity still make sense? American’s are used to seeing bi-racial marketing campaigns, but this new Sprint campaign really takes it a step further.

In the previous ‘Framily’ marketing plan we saw diversity as well but somehow it just makes more sense.

The old campaigns worked with groups like your fantasy league, boyfriends, and more. Why does this seem to make more sense? I believe it’s because these groups of people are more relatable to Americans; they are topics we are familiar with and understand. The ads themselves were straightforward-add more people, either friends or family, and save more money. The new campaign is more complex and abstract and overall just more difficult to understand in American culture.

Do you like the new campaign? Do you find the new campaign or the old campaign more relatable?

Let me know your thoughts!

Until next time
~Melissa