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MIT student blogger Sam M. '07

Turkey vs. Spam sells out by Sam M. '07

The most valuable blog entry of all time.

DID YOU KNOW? This weekend is a tax holiday in Massachusetts. I sure hope my floor uses the opportunity to buy a $1000 wide-screen television set online using our floor funds!

My roommate Kunal is a communications major from Bombay who dreams of one day studying at a prestigious advertising school in the United States. Because of that, I’m thinking of enlisting him to help design a new banner for Turkey vs. Spam–what do you think? Could the bunny hat use a bit of an update?

Anyway, over the past few days I’ve been busy designing a new television commercial for Verizon Wireless in my head. Why? Because Verizon Wireless is, in my experience, the best provider you can get at MIT, and if you look at specials on Amazon you can even get a free cell phone when you sign up for a plan. Check out my old entry on it here. As Melis said, almost everybody at MIT has a cell phone, so bringing one of your own would definitely be helpful if you don’t have one already.

Just to let you know, this commercial is so good that I could probably call up Verizon right now and make a million dollars. But instead I’m posting it here because I wanted to show you that MIT students have tremendous creative gifts in addition to their aptitude for math and science.

That’s how committed I am to MITblogging.

First of all, what’s the catchiest song in the entire world? Wrong, it’s “Message in a Bottle” by the Police. So, the first thing you see is a close up of this guy’s head as he’s waking up on the beach. He has short, curly hair. He jolts up, revealing himself to be on an empty beach with no shirt on. You hear a few guitar notes, and then…

“Just a castaway, an island lost at sea…

Over this music, you see the castaway look over to see his jet ski totalled against some rocks and broken into at least two pieces. He rubs his head and walks toward it. He’s digging through the wreckage and finds a small backpack, out of which he pulls… a cell phone! You see a shot over from his shoulder where he’s clearly looking at the cell phone contemplatively.

“I’ll send an SMS to the world! I hope that someone gets my…

The next shot is of the guy hitting “Send” on his cell phone. He’s sending a message to “Stephanie” from “Jason” that says “Shipwreck! Help! 143.” Or something like that, we could work out the details with the actors. Anyway, Stephanie is in a kind of large speedboat with her friend, who doesn’t have a name but is also wearing a red bikini. You see Stephanie get the message, clap her hand to her face in panic, yell something back to her friend, and drive off, just as you get to the quiet, mysterious part…

“…message in a bottle, yeah.”

In an earlier draft I had made it “message in a mobile, yeah” but I decided that was a little tacky. So as they speed off, the camera zooms in suddenly and kind of campily on Stephanie’s nameless friend, who’s sending a text message from her phone. And as she hits send, The Police kick in with:

“Sending out an SMS! Sending out an SMS!”

The camera does some kind of weird retro pan effect (okay, I didn’t go to film school, I’m just selling a concept here) to another young guy who’s getting the text message. Then he sends another one to a guy and a girl on the beach, who send one to a guy in front of a palm tree, and so on–each one to the rhythm of the music, with the same weird retro pan effect. They all look very heroic as they send their text messages, and wield their cell phones almost like weapons. Then cut back to the beach, where Stephanie and her nameless friend are leading an line of boats at the beach of a desert island. It’s nighttime, and there’s a campfire set up. The camera pulls back a little to reveal Jason standing there in the extreme foreground. Meanwhile, some of the friends are grabbing coolers and stereos from out of their boat.

And then Sting is standing there by the campfire with all these young people dancing around him in the background, playing beach volleyball, etc. And Sting says,

“You can be sure that they’ll get your SMS with Verizon Wireless’s global network, proven to have a larger coverage area and fewer dropped calls than any other carrier!”

I don’t know if that’s true, but it would make the commercial a lot better. And then there’s a long shot of the beach with everybody partying and enjoying themselves, while the soundtrack just keeps repeating…

“Sending out an SMS! Sending out an SMS!”

And now every time you hear The Police, you will want to buy a Verizon cell phone.

Or read my blog.

I’m in Italy until next Wednesday, so you’ll just have to find something to talk about until then.

8 responses to “Turkey vs. Spam sells out”

  1. Joe says:

    I stand by the sole (read: my) vote for Moskau. Though that wouldn’t exactly make a good commercial…

    Spam aside, I’ve heard from all over the place that Verizon’s the best, but I don’t want to be the only person in my family with a different company. Can anyone tell me how good Cingular is, especially in the dorms?

  2. elizabeth says:

    Would I be a horrible person if I preferred John Mayer’s cover of Message in a Bottle to the original?


  3. Colin says:

    That is absolutely, one hundred percent, the best commercial idea I have ever heard in my entire life. No joke. I’m still laughing.

    I have Cingular, though. (BLASPHEMY.)

  4. Aziz '10 says:

    LoooooooooL amazing idea Sam! I really, really like it!! You really should go to an advertising agency with this ;p

    On a more serious note…I’m using an (unlocked?) international Nokia cell phone that I bought from my country and isn’t committed to any carrier. I heard that T-Mobile is the only cell phone chip that will work with international phones like that…do you have any info. about that?

    Thanks Sam wink

  5. Laura says:

    Sam, you totally rock my socks.

  6. geofft says:

    Aziz, if by “international” you mean “non-US”, then it won’t work with T-Mobile. I tried once with a phone from India and T-Mobile said there’s no way to get it to work with their US network. (It shouldn’t work with any US network, since the FCC doesn’t allow cell phone signals on the non-US frequencies.) If by “international” you mean “world phone”, though, it ought to work with any US carrier.

  7. Kendall says:

    Yeah, it’s a real funny blog if you don’t have to listen to him singing the song all day long wink

    Also Cingular sucks. I spose it could be worse, but Verizon works in all the subways, down in 26-100, in the student center, and in most of the main buildings, I’m sure. My cingular phone doesn’t work in any of these places except that I usually get sketchy but tolerable service in the main buildings, except in the media lab where I get absolutely nothing. It actually has trouble even calling phones that are in the media lab when they get great service there. I dunno how that works. In the dorms, again sketchy but tolerable–much more tolerable than in the main buildings, but my parents make me call them back every now and then. My parents keep it because it’s a local call for them and I can call my mom’s phone for free, so it’s worth it for them.

    As for your international phone . . . that’s a good question. Some phones work both internationally and in the US . . . we’re so picky that everything is different in the US. even the WLAN connections can be different. Anyway, the easiest way to find out if your phone works on a US network would probably be to bring it to a carrier and have them try it.

    Sam, am I allowed to write this much on *your* blog? I just like answering questions wink

  8. Sam says:

    Haha, thanks Kendall. I was actually just about to answer Joe’s question! But your response basically echoes mine…

    Joe — I had Cingular for my first two years at MIT. I never had any problem in the dorms, but I had very bad reception between Lobby 10 and Kendall Square (over half of the academic buildings). The Student Center is basically a Faraday cage encased in six inches of concrete, so reception is always kind of questionable there, but Verizon works okay.

    elizabeth — Well, “horrible” might be a little harsh, but… okay, seriously, I never heard it.

    Aziz — Not really sure on that one. I concur with Kendall, the best option is probably just to wait until you get here and check it out. If you do need another cell phone or some sort of modification for your existing one, it’ll probably be cheaper, easier, and more reliable to get one in Boston. I do know a few international students who have US cell phones too (although that’s obviously not the cheapest option).

    geofft — You are so smart.

    Kendall — You can write as much as you like! But I’m not going to pay you. Except the 30 Т«® I owe you from Italy… and my Message In A Bottle is nothing compared to your “Bitte gibt mir nur ein Euro.”