Make mine a flackery daiquiri

It’s no surprise anymore to see press releases passed off in your local newspaper as actual news. (I’ve done it myself once or twice, and by “once or twice” I mean “probably less than twenty or thirty times.”) Seeing them on the front page of the paper, however, remains a bit off-putting. In this week’s City Sentinel, Verizon Wireless got a full quarter of the page — admittedly, below the fold — to push their Global Service Plans. I didn’t pay much attention to it until I read the inevitable “About Verizon Wireless” paragraph, which they for some reason (space considerations, I assume) didn’t bother to trim, making it even more obvious that this was a press release. This is the opening of the paragraph in question:

Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves nearly 96 million retail customers, including 90.4 million retail postpaid customers.

“Postpaid,” in cell-phone context, means that you use up your time and your data and they send you a bill for it. The opposite is “prepaid,” wherein you buy blocks of time in advance and get no bill. Why would they need to specify that in a press release? I’m guessing it’s because none of these Global Service Plans apply to the five and a half million Verizon customers who don’t have “plans” at all, and the investors, who are the only people who actually read these things deliberately, might think they need to be told that. Now were I in the target audience, I’d be wanting to know, for instance, what the hell 4G LTE is.

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