Numerous outraged customers decided to leave a cellphone carrier over a distasteful advertisement (video below).
After offending an entire subset of potential clients, Sprint decided to remove an ad that referred to T-Mobile customers as "ghetto."
In the ad, a group was seen eating an expensive-looking meal near an ice skating rink. During the meal, Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure asked what words came to mind when he mentioned the cellphone carrier T-Mobile.
“Oh my God, the first word that came to my head was ghetto,” a woman exclaimed.
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As the room burst into laughter, she tried to explain her answer.
"That sounds, like, terrible," she said. "Oh my God. I just felt, like, there’s [...] three carriers, it’s AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. And people who have T-Mobile, it’s like, why do you have T-Mobile?"
The video was part of Sprint’s “Listening Tour” campaign, in which the people filmed were reportedly "not actors," and "real questions" with "honest answers" were expressed during the discussion.
"We're sharing real comments from real customers," wrote CEO Marcelo Claure on Twitter. "Maybe not the best choice of words by the customer. Not meant to offend anyone."
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Therefore, the company tried to present the video as merely an opinion from a potential client.
"Sometimes the truth hurts, @TMobile," Claure tweeted, along with a video of the comment.
However, the "honest answer" backfired. Customers attacked both the company and Claure himself, as he was born in Bolivia. He later wrote that he “should have been more sensitive,” since he is a “proud Hispanic immigrant.”
"You are just another suit," tweeted Luis A Medina. "That video was disrespectful to all of us low-middle class Latinos."
Sprint’s competitors, such as Verizon and AT&T, have taken advantage of the social media backlash. Verizon even responded to a post offering to "help cover your cost to switch to better."
"@verizon Can I get in on the non-racist deals?" wrote user snorkel42. "Would love to ditch @sprint."
"Maybe it’s time to make the #ATT switch!" wrote AT&T Biz Deals in response to a client who vowed to leave Sprint.
Claure removed the video about eight hours later, according to New York Daily News.
"My job is to listen to consumers," Claure tweeted. "Our point was to share customer views. Bad judgment on our part. Apologies. Taking the video down."