Jitterbug Cell Phone For Older People…Seriously?

I get the fact that there is a big demographic of seniors that may not be reached by the majority of mobile phone services. But I don’t think this commercial sends that message. To me, this is borderline insulting to older people. Watch it first, and let me know what impression it makes on you.

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OK, to me this commercial says:

We understand the needs of older people, and we’re doing something about it. Our phone has big numbers, since you’ve probably never used any touch tone phone and can’t count to ten. We don’t expect you to have that complicated keypad layout memorized.

And sure, you can control the volume on any other phone, but that’s complicated. This phone has one setting–LOUD. That will make it seem more natural when you yell back into it.

Besides that, old people are too stupid to figure out something as complicated as a cell phone. You’ll need us to help you save names and numbers into the phone, because there’s no way you’d ever think of something as clever as writing them down instead.

Not my words, mind you, just what this commercial says to me. Was this made by SNL? It reminds me of the “DVDs My Wife Made” digital short from a couple of weeks ago.

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10 Replies to “Jitterbug Cell Phone For Older People…Seriously?”

  1. Well, I think it’s more for the technologically challenged or for those who don’t want to have to “learn” to use a phone nor have a need for all the features they can pack into them. When cell phones come packaged with 125 page manuals you really have to stop and think, “This is just a phone… right?”.

    My mother, who is 70, has a cell phone. She doesn’t care about a camera, voice mail, email, text messaging, one-button dialing, storing numbers, playing mp3’s, setting up a welcome screen, surfing the web, selecting a ring tone, adjusting the screen brightness, selecting wallpaper or figuring out how to make it louder (she has hearing loss in both ears) – I could go on and on.

    All she wants to do is place a call and answer a call – that’s it; just like the phone on the wall in her kitchen. Anything else on the phone to her is useless and confusing. And this is a woman with a teaching degree.

    The Jitterbug is exactly what she’s looking for. Hello, Goodbye, Hang up!

    Now, if she was 55 years younger, all of those features would be very important to her and, having grown up in an entirely different generation, would find the device simple to use.

    I think it just depends on the shoes you’re standing in that makes it seem insulting or the best thing to come along in ages.

  2. Steve,
    I think you’re right that there is a market for this, and I think it is smart to go after that market. I just think this commercial is a little insulting.

    I actually like the idea of this phone too…I don’t want all of those other features either. I just want to find out what i need to buy while I’m at the store. 😛

  3. Every time I see those Jitterbug commercials I think the same thing. I don’t think it’s the product that’s insulting, just the commercial.

    There are many features on my own cell phone I haven’t figured out yet, and I can see how some people want a phone with no frills, but the way they present the phone *is* insulting.

    I’m glad you said that. I’d been thinking that for a while.

  4. I have been very disatified with the phone, service, support, and price. I can not even get service in most places. Most of the time I just want to cry because I purchased the phone.

  5. As Marge suggests, my fear had been with the service. This sounds like a no-name company doing what Cricket does, which is using the low-power towers out there no one else wants. What’s more frustrating to a senior than that?

    But yeah, the commercials are almost a parody of themselves. Casio makes a waterproof cell, and there are a few shockproof ones (from Moto, I think) for contractors, so I am really surprised you can’t just find something like this at AT&T or whatever. Of course, since carriers make bank off all those unneeded services, what’s the incentive?

    A Jitterbug-style phone would be PERFECT for US Cellular, however. They rock.

    Ed Begley, Jr. recommends the Cinco Phone:
    It has only ONE button!

  6. i don’t know man, my dad is 74 and when he calls me from his wife’s cel it’s a process that takes 3-4 calls before he realizes he has to remove the headset in order to converse through the phone. it’s hysterical listening to him go ‘hello…hello…goddammit!!!’ add to that i always tell him when he calls me from his land line ‘dad let me call you back it’ll be a free call for both of us’, which is always followed by a 4 minute conversation on why the call is free, he just doesn’t get the concept. My mom is convinced she has to power down her phone in order to charge it, so i can never get in touch with her immediately. and when we do finally connect we always start the conversation with ‘when did you call? i must have been out back…that’s odd that i didnt hear the phone ring’ etc. i’m 38 years old myself, and i have absolutely no idea how to use the controls for video games, no idea how an automobile engine works, etc. i still think that there are tiny actors living inside my television set that perform for me exclusively. but the cel phones and people over 70 thing is absolutely hysterical to me. the sympathetic way the rep in the jitterbug ad tells the customer that he’ll go ahead and add that name to their contacts is pure genius, i can totally relate. It does come across like an SNL ad.

  7. thanks i got more. don’t blog just pester my friends via email and leave an occasional comment here & there. i like to leave stupid comments on youtube and gauge the outpouring of hatred that they inspire. and my comments are never mean or profane, but they give the semi-literate community on youtube a chance to vent some of their hatred. i enjoy the poor grammar involved in the borderline death threats that i inspire from leaving a comment on a rollerblading accident video that says ‘wow he’s on ice skates but there’s no ice’. i work at home half the week and keep a small tv at my desk so i’m subjected to alot of ads. i’m finding that the advertising agencies are running out of ideas and the new breed of network television advertisement really gets under my skin and raises my blood pressure. blindfolded taste test soup lady, glade candles, every month is truck month. so thank you for your inspiring feedback, maybe i’ll start blogging. as soon as i get past the cringe i experience at the word blog. best, steeev

  8. And sure, you can control the volume on any other phone, but that’s complicated. This phone has one setting–LOUD. That will make it seem more natural when you yell back into it.

    LOL Thats awesome!

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