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Man drags his family into a plot to fake his own death in chilling new Sprint TV ad

Why it matters to you

Sprint illustrates why switching phone carriers isn't the big deal many fear, and may save money in the long run.

Phone contract getting you down? Considering something drastic like faking your own death to get out of it? Probably not, but that hasn’t stopped Sprint from using exactly that scenario in its latest TV ad, which is its weirdest jab at competitor Verizon yet. The thing is, it plays like a horrific blend of The Shining and Fargo.

The ad opens with our clearly disturbed protagonist pushing his SUV over the edge of a quarry. Inside the vehicle is a dummy made to look something like the owner, ready to fool the insurance company when it investigates the incident. Because faking your death is always wholesome family fun, he has brought his son and daughter along to watch, telling them in a tone that would make Jack Torrance proud, “Well kids, Daddy’s dead!” What a monster.

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However, the cunning plan is foiled when Paul turns up. Out for a brisk walk on a rainy day, Paul figures out the ruse immediately. He asks, “Faking your own death to get our of your Verizon contract?” Nervous chatter about cops and the legal consequences of their actions next spreads among the family members.

Paul, realizing his life is now in danger after confronting a man so obviously at the end of his tether, quickly — but still rather smugly for someone about to follow the car down the quarry — talks about how awesome Sprint is, and how easy it is to switch. The ad ends abruptly, and we may never know if Paul makes it out the quarry alive.

Of course, it’s all lighthearted tomfoolery, plus there’s a handy “Do Not Attempt” warning on the screen when dad’s pushing the car into the quarry, so that’s all right then. Watch the message disappear when everyone talks about switching to Sprint though. Leaving it on screen at that time may give the wrong impression.

Sprint is keen to take unhappy phone owners away from Verizon and other carriers, and even has a special deal to attract defectors, which includes unlimited data, text, and minutes for a monthly cost of $50. It has seen plenty of growth recently, too, but is still the fourth largest network in the United States, behind AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

A 30-second version of the ad also exists, and the extended 45 second version seen here will play during the Super Bowl; but it still leaves the big question unanswered. What was Paul’s fate? Is he at the bottom of the quarry with the car, was he paid off to keep the terrible secret, or did they all live happily ever after a visit to the Sprint store?