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EE persists with advertising absurd use-cases

From the people who brought you robot shaving, we now have remote air traffic controlling.

When EE chose to illustrate how great its 4G and 5G network is by using it to remote control a robot arm into shaving a bloke with a cut-throat razor on top of a mountain, we had some sympathy for its marketing department. As far as the average punter is concerned 5G doesn’t really bring much new to the table, so operators are forced to be somewhat creative in their attempts to generate demand.

The case for fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), however, should be easier to make, on account of it offering the fastest broadband possible. Nonetheless EE, perhaps still basking in the triumph of its remote shaving campaign, has decided to over-egg the pudding somewhat by transforming a random suburban domestic dwelling into an ad hoc air traffic control centre.

As you can see from the tweet, choosing such an absurd use-case is designed to make the point that there’s nothing EE’s FTTH can’t handle. From the short ad it’s hard to see exactly what influence our aviation dilettantes had over the plane they claim to have landed, but we should at least be grateful they didn’t attempt to remote control it.

It’s all good, harmless fun, of course, but these kind of ads do imply a touch of desperation on the part of operators when it comes to justifying their existence and generating demand. The harsh truth is that even the relatively modest broadband speeds most people receive in the UK are just fine for multi device video streaming and that sort of thing. Until everyone uploads their souls into the metaverse EE is probably going to have to keep coming up with stuff like this to show why its best broadband packages are worth the price premium.

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19 comments

  1. Avatar Paul 10/12/2021 @ 5:18 pm

    While they are certainly not using a consumer broadband connection, Schiphol air traffic control actually does do exactly this, for the smaller airports in the Netherlands: https://en.lvnl.nl/environment/remote-tower

  2. Avatar G Davidson 22/01/2022 @ 8:14 pm

    It’s only radio, FFS. That’s 19th century technology.

  3. Avatar Richard Wilcock 24/01/2022 @ 8:17 pm

    It cites Cambridge Airport, not known as a major airport!

  4. Avatar David Newell 25/01/2022 @ 10:21 pm

    The ad is very carefully worded. ‘ I can’t believe we actually landed a plane’ one actor says. No answer or claim made. They did not claim to have landed it. Almost certainly did not as the bandwidth need to pilot a plane from a suburban home is infeasible. They displayed a, ‘is that live?’ (no answer again) video from the cockpit, using ‘EE Full Fibre’. Trivial, not impressive at all. It is done on breakfast tv everyday. No definition of ‘Full Fibre’ given. Fibre to the exchange, to the kerb, to the home? No data rate or network performance claims made. As such it fails at the advertising 101, to contain a promise to entice the viewer to purchase the product. Back to the drawing board EE’s agency. Very poor. Likely to damage the brand. Shame.

  5. Avatar Steve 20/02/2022 @ 5:30 pm

    BT successfully trialled full fibre to homes in 1990. Bishop’s Stortford. The government wouldn’t allow them to roll it out nationwide as it would have rendered cable and satellite unnecessary.

  6. Avatar Michael Spittles 03/03/2022 @ 5:49 pm

    No I wouldn’t trust the ee signal I wonder whats next I wonder

  7. Avatar Mark Worrall 09/03/2022 @ 8:59 pm

    Ever noticed in the shaving advert that they guy doing the remote shaving is standing right in front of the entrance doors to the shop, AND with his back to them? If someone unwittingly waltzed in and bumped him, the guy on Snowdon would have his throat cut. Says to me the advert is a complete lie.

  8. Avatar TONY FOGGON 19/03/2022 @ 10:25 pm

    Complete bulls–t

  9. Avatar Harry Coogan 17/04/2022 @ 12:19 am

    Having worked in air traffic control for 22 years, I can say that this advert is all wrong! The pilot reports being at “altitude 3000feet heading 050 degrees overhead”, then the “controller” says that runway 23 is available (runway 23 meaning a runway heading 230degrees). An aircraft of that size would need to be at 10miles on final approach to land (ie in line with the runway at 10 miles distance) if it was at 3000feet altitude in order to maintain the standard 3 degree glidepath descent. The pilot reported heading 050 degrees, which is 180degrees in the wrong direction. If the pilot had reported being “downwind” , then it could be argued that the pilot was flying a circuit pattern and making a visual approach to the runway (unusual for that aircraft but not unheard of), but reporting position as “overhead” is not consistent with any normal procedure for an aircraft of that size. Furthermore an air traffic controller would use a specific phrase
    ” cleared to land runway 23″, NOT “runway 23 available” which is a phrase used only on smaller runways where there is a flight information service only, not air traffic control.

  10. Avatar John 27/04/2022 @ 8:46 pm

    Yep, as a pilot I agree with the previous poster. All total bull and designed to con the punter into believing their hype.
    As for the actual process of a controller “landing” a plane, the phraseology, information, position reports and heading calls etc don’t make sense in the process of approach and landing.

  11. Avatar Mike C 03/05/2022 @ 9:30 pm

    I’m a visual effects artist and the video of Kevin Bacon is super imposed on to the tablet. Nothing is real about this advert

  12. Avatar Jon Evans 04/05/2022 @ 11:09 pm

    Quite sure when the advert was first aired they heavy, it’s an a321, not heavy. Is the pilot / fo in the wrong seats

  13. Avatar J Hall 12/05/2022 @ 1:18 pm

    A321 in flight and b737 on the runway!!

  14. Avatar Jean Perry 18/05/2022 @ 1:45 pm

    Regardless of the accuracy of what is going on, I hope someone tells that stupid girl that WE did not land a plane. – the pilot and Air Traffuc Control did. She should be being mocked mercilessly by all at her school for such a senseless comment. I hope EE take responsibility for what she must be being subjected to.

    She irritates just about evetyoneI I know. For everyine’s sake, please cut her out EE or, better still, ditch the whole sorry advert..

  15. Avatar Graham Leigh 06/06/2022 @ 9:38 pm

    Just love your comments. That girl reaaallly gets up my nose. I cringe every time I see this ad and hear that stupid girls voice. They have done nothing, just onlookers.

  16. Avatar Solimrajah1 06/06/2022 @ 11:57 pm

    It’s not about the plane landing or who’s landing, not about the shave either, who’s shaving how is he shaving. It’s about being able to watch that contact /episode on your tv computer laptop screen via ee broadband without any disturbance like buffering and all sorts.
    Maybe I’m missing the point, sorry guys, nonetheless it’s all about making the public stupid, over the next many years it’ll get worse and people will get stupider,

  17. Avatar David Burge 22/06/2022 @ 6:33 pm

    Why does advertising standards allow such ads as EE “landing a plane” and the Calgon ad? because in reality both are just untrue !!!!

  18. Avatar Caroline Ford 23/06/2022 @ 8:20 pm

    What a stupid, unreal advert. What’s it got to do with anything. Waste of time.

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