Verizon and Jennifer Lopez announce Viva Movil, and we’re left scratching our heads

Remember that super exciting Verizon Wireless announcement we just told you about? Well, Big Red showed up all right… except we’re not exactly sure what the big fuss was all about. The company has announced Viva Movil, a partnership between Verizon, Jennifer Lopez, Brightstar and Moorehead Communications to launch a new retail wireless experience geared toward the significant Latino population here in America.

Viva Movil will have a physical retail presence all over the country, starting with a New York City location launching June 15th, with other locations popping up in places like Los Angeles, Miami and more over time. The stores will feature play areas for kids, live device demos, and bi-lingual Latino employees who can help Latinos who may not speak perfect English.

viva lol

According to the press briefing, Viva Movil is majority owned by Jennifer Lopez, and Verizon Wireless doesn’t have a lick of stake in the company. They will, however, be the exclusive carrier partner to provide wireless service and devices for customers who choose to seek service via this route. Verizon will maintain the same pricing structure and plans for those who choose to get their phones through Viva Movil, and Viva Movil won’t have any of their own-branded or exclusive devices for the foreseeable future.

A big emphasis is being put on the social aspects of Viva Movil. Users will be able to shop for smartphones, plans and accessories through Viva Movil’s Facebook page without ever having to leave Facebook. This is supposed to be a “game changer,” according to Verizon, but it sounds more like an extra nuisance of a step to take when you can just go right to the site or the physical store itself (or, better yet, just go to a freaking Verizon store).

This announcement left my colleagues and I in an utter state of confusion. Why? Why must this exist? What is the need for a retail shopping experience tailored specifically for Latinos? Why does a mobile phone store need a playground?

And what’s the point of all this if it doesn’t offer much more than a way to bypass any possible language barrier issues a non-English speaking patron might have? Does Jennifer Lopez think her own-branded accessories need an entire store? Are we really supposed to believe that this is a significant development for the wireless industry?

There are too many questions to be answered about Viva Movil, and the way Verizon was dancing around the questions they got at the CTIA press event it sounds like they’re not too sure of what Viva Movil is supposed to be themselves. In short: Vete a casa, Verizon. Estás borracho.

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  • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

    Why, J-Lo. WHY?

    • DavidVarghese

      $$$.. why else?

      • shonangreg

        You forgot one symbol:
        -$$$

        J-Lo is going to take a bath on this. Maybe she thinks this is a movie and she is “The Cellphone Planner”. I know; the joke is lame, but so is this idea.

        • Tigerone123

          Source are saying so far she hasn’t spend a dime, Jlo never invest with her own money, just like her new music video, who do you thing paid for Jlo new music video??? did you see a lot of Kohl’s products on that video?? Jlo incorporates her sponsors with all of her projects, weather it be a music video, movie, or any commercial projects, she incorporates so she doesn’t spend a dime?

          • shonangreg

            What you say seems plausible. So she is going to lose other people their money? I suppose she’ll get a percentage either way . . .

    • mmhh

      because you gotta Live it up live it up go go go go

  • CryptoNoel

    Sounds cool I guess, but unnecessary. I’m Latino and i think the only good thing to come out of this is “Vete a casa, Verizon. Estás borracho”

    • http://twitter.com/SpamStream lolwut

      For Yankees: “Go home, Verizon. You’re drunk”

      • Matt Kopf

        Thank you.

  • James Ellis

    Wow… What a joke for an announcement!

    Way to go Verizon!

  • droi_d

    0_o

  • Keith Myers

    Was this a Joke?

    I live in Miami, I see thousands of Latino users using Smart Phones, so obviously there is not a problem. Is the Facebook Integration even needed?

    Lets face it, this is just another MVNO

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      It’s not even an MVNO. That’s the saddest thing about this entire announcement.

  • Covert_Death

    well that was pointless. instead of segregating our customers to different stores we should be focused on enhancing the singular store experience for ALL

    • Arrell

      I agree.

    • feztheforeigner

      Nah, let’s further separate it for every ethnicity. How about making Cracker Mobile and The Dark Side of Mobile to compliment Viva Movil?

  • Derek Lockovich

    They got one thing right about tweeting. However, I think the tweets aren’t what they were hoping for.

  • VEC

    Looks silly but I get it. They are trying to capitalize on the booming Latino population in the U.S. I would guess that the Latino population may have a strong branding relationship with products and they want to be up front in having that population recognize Verizon as the Latino mobile phone provider. Seems odd but that’s my guess.

  • Go Hawkeyes

    Makes sense. It’s already hard to get someone who speaks English when you call Verizon, might as well have a similar experience when you visit a store.

    • CerealFTW

      I haven’t laughed that hard at a comment in a while hahaha

    • http://twitter.com/EverTroy Evertroy

      Yeah that made me laught too, good one!

    • nycplayboy78

      LOLCATS and great avatar Hawkeyes :)

    • Mr. JacKaL

      lol…made me laugh …good one…

  • faceless128

    i don’t understand how this news is hard to understand… i’ve lived in NYC for a decade and there is a huge Latino population there and in many other places in the US and they are an underserved category. then again, most people on the internet don’t understand why Tyler Perry is popular either… what can i say… look outside of the box.

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      I’m just saying, what’s the point of this if it’s not an actual MVNO? It would have made way more sense then, but this just doesn’t make much sense as it is. I get what Verizon is trying to do — that’s not what I’m confused about. I’m confused as to why they felt it was necessary at all.

      • EarlyMon

        Well, let’s remember just how hard it is for a poor working girl like J-Lo to get media attention.

        It makes good press for Big Red for a lot of folks I suppose and the stores make sense.

        • shonangreg

          Financing what appears to be a boondoggle is an expensive way to get bad press. She would have done better just to finance a run for Congress or even president — with no real intention of actually winning. Hermann Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and the rest of the nuts on the rightwing fringe could give her plenty of tips on how to get attention and make a profit.

    • Guest

      True, working with a ton of Latinos in DC, I know many have have smartphones. Verizon is not their first choice in carrier; usually Boost, Virgin, T-Mobile, or Cricket is what they use.
      I’m bummed myself with nothing more substantive, but at least this serves some of the population well…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ash-Chaotic-Sibb/100000092633563 Ash Chaotic Sibb

    What, no HTC one, such a diassapointment

  • Alu Zeros

    Good job Verizon, NOT! Can we get google wallet? That would be flipping nice. Might want to learn how to listen to your customers better.

  • izzyt

    what just happened? j-lo? what does she have to do in all of this? why does she suddenly have an interest in Latinos and our phones? O.o

    • http://twitter.com/EverTroy Evertroy

      She’s one of those celebrities that thinks she can make a difference… in what is still to be determined.

  • Jose Evelio Martinez

    To me if you are going to promote something latino then make sure you have some central & south american plans. by saying Viva Movil it sounds like you have something for latinos & all you really are doing is promoting are cases or apps. That was a waste of my time.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Yup, me and Edgar were saying the same thing. We thought they were going to have some new plan for calling out of the country but….. nope. Just play pens for babies and alligator skin phone cases. -_-

  • Jack

    this was damn racist event

    • feztheforeigner

      It’s okay as long as it isn’t pro-white

      /s

  • blue720

    Oye Verizon, es pinches borrachones.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ChristopherMcKeever Chris McKeever

    The end of America as we know it starts here.

  • Brian Menius

    … dafuq?!

  • Proud non “borracho” Latino

    I agreed with entire article except for that ignorant last quote. Just because this is a service being provided towards Latinos you have to make a comment about borrachos? Idk if you were trying to be funny but personally I didn’t laugh. I could sit here and come up with a joke right back at you based on your name alone, but that would profiling so I won’t do it. As a writer for a rather popular site which I’m sure has very diverse readers, you should probably consider doing the same thing.

    • http://www.phandroid.com Quentyn Kennemer

      I simply wrote “Go home, Verizon, you’re drunk” in Spanish. It’s a popular and funny phrase to use against companies or people when they don’t make sense. It’s obvious there’s a language issue here, but from what I understand I didn’t use the term “borrachos” in a way that’s meant to be offensive to a specific group of people (ie, drunken Latinos).

      Estar borracho: To be drunk
      Ser un borracho: To be an alcoholic, a drunkard, a rummy

      My language clearly specifies the state of being drunk vs describing a drunk. I hope that clears things up for you. I was not trying to offend anyone at all.

      • koolkat2

        I read the comment and was like wtf. I cant understand being offended byvthat. It makes sense. Its in spanish which was relating to the Verizon event. Just a butthurt internet random…. Like phandroid readers when they see an ios post hahahahahahaha, jkjkjk, no flame!

    • Edgar Cervantes

      I think you misunderstood, bro. He wasn’t talking about “drunk latinos”, he was talking about Verizon “being drunk” or not acting very reasonably. This was seriously one of the most stupid announcements I have seen in a long time, and I am hispanic.

      If anything should offend us, it should be J-Lo, Verizon and VivaMovil. They are racially profiling us to “improve the experience for latinos”. Playgrounds for our kids at a phone store (because hispanics are “known for having many kids”)? Really? Ridiculous crocodile, snake and ostrich phone cases? Now THAT is racial profiling.

      “Vete a casa, Verizon. Estas borracho” is simply a translation to “Go home, Verizon. You are drunk”. This is a very common statement to make when you think someone is not being very rational or being silly. It is by no means a racist statement.

    • http://EmptyApartment.net/ Mr. Creeper

      Learn to take a joke. Or, at the very least, understand them.

    • kev2684

      …it’s just a translated meme popular on the internet…

    • Pkmmte

      Best comment + username combination ever.

  • Arrell

    I truly respect businesses wanting to reach out to all groups. But instead of building separate buildings for different people based upon race, why dont stores just promote diversity in their businesses and hiring practices. This would eliminate the need for this. Does anyone agree?

    • http://twitter.com/EverTroy Evertroy

      Kind of like every movie has the token black dude, eh?

  • phoenix_fire

    this is going to be extremely redundant in miami. i can tell you from personal experience that almost everyone in this city speaks spanish (and sometimes only spanish) so latinos would get help in any wireless carrier’s store.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      Didn’t even think about that and that’s totally true. Living near to Los Angeles, it’s rare someone in any retail store doesn’t have at least 1 spanish speaker in there.

      Then again, how many of them have a baby play pen for you to bring all your kids? Apparently only VivaMovil will :P

  • blest

    Uhhh Cool Verizon..?

  • Michael Quinlan

    If Jennifer Lopez wants to open a chain that caters to non-English speaking Latinos, it should offer ESL courses, not overpriced wireless services. This way, these same Latinos can enjoy a much wider array of retail services instead of limiting themselves because of a language barrier.

    • Mr. JacKaL

      I agree. She dont care about Latinos, she just making money…if she did she’d open up “vivo ESL Classes” or something….. on the flip side, she’s hot..

    • feztheforeigner

      Or maybe Latinos should just speak the native tongue of the country they moved to. If I moved to China I sure as hell would try and learn Chinese, not expect society to take care of my specific language needs.

  • deh2002

    I’m sick of all this crap. This is the United states of America, not Mexico.
    We speak English here, if you don’t then learn. Or better yet, stay in your own damned country.
    Don’t call me racist either, I’m an American, born here, raised here, and have fought for my country. I didn’t fight to see it given away to a bunch of illegal immigrants that are a bunch of criminals.

    • izzyt

      suse chill, this is a site for tech media and info, related to the android operating system. not a site for ranting about how proud of an American you are.

      • koolkat2

        Hey you cant blame him. Im sure all native Americans feel the same way. Oh wait…..

    • http://EmptyApartment.net/ Mr. Creeper

      I’m Hispanic and I totally agree with this.

    • http://twitter.com/gamercore Chris Chavez

      #Murica

    • koolkat2

      You appear to be upset. Have an enchilada.

  • picaso86

    This is the stupidest announcement for this year so far!

  • Jody Schoolcraft

    6 months from now….”in business news, Viva Movil will be closing it’s doors due to declining sales…”

  • JWolf_PDX

    That’s racist!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mookienj Mark Swiss

    Can I get an HTC One at Viva Movil?

    • VersedNJ

      No but you can at AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. (alphabetical so not to infuriate the fanboi’s)

  • DavidB23

    This is just stupid.

  • http://twitter.com/troyboytn Troy Owens

    Really, Verizon? An even bigger really, JLo?????????? What a joke!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Kardos/512184590 Nick Kardos

    Well I was toying with the idea of changing carriers last month but wanted to wait for their “big announcement”. This joke has confirmed my switch.

  • Jason

    Viva JLO! Viva Movil! Ahora si puedo adelantar dentro de este paiz!

  • VersedNJ

    I think VZW lost their mind, or just trying to figure out a way to get more money for the $165 billion to pay off Vodafone. I’m not hispanic, but if I was, I’d find this offensive. I can see getting a more diverse salesforce who can speak spanish and other languages. Also wouldn’t be bad to get some sort of designer options from JayLo and others, OK maybe not for me, but I can see the market, But not a whole store.

  • ac

    Sounds like a great tax shelter for J-Lo’s money…LOL…Just don’t know how long it’ll last.

  • Brandon Sutherland

    Wow, really glad I no longer work for Verizon! What a pointless project. Just thinking about how it has been in my area in regards to latinos, it is only ever prepaid purchases!

  • Alexander Ramirez

    But will they serve tacos y burritos?

  • http://twitter.com/EverTroy Evertroy

    Why do’nt they just use google translate?

  • NexusMan

    I love how it has a play area for kids….’cause we all know those Latinos sure do have a ton of kids!

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.harp.5439 Michael Harp

    OOOOOOOOOOOOKKKK?????

  • axlaxl

    I guess Verizon saw too many “cellphoneless” helpless latinos with bunch of kids wandering on the street or something….

  • TadeoNYC

    How is it that every other post misses out on the fact that this is not being financed by Verizon. With out knowing any more than what is written here, it seems like a joke. it is a great premise for a parody. A Latino mother goes cellphone shopping with so many kids that they have a playground so that she can be convinced by sales people to overspend on a cellphone instead of paying for childcare. Shame on Jennifer Lopez and all the other corporate shills.

  • master94

    Just proves that VZW and J-lo have more money than they know what to do with.

  • Dall

    MetroPCS (t mobile) is going to be PISSED ;)

  • indio7777

    Will they serve burritos?

  • Tigerone123

    Didn’t Verizon learn their lesson when they lost millions with Jlo when they venture with that Latin Talent Show “Que Viva” which was a complete failure, almost sound like the same failed venture? If Jlo can’t sell her music or movies, then no one is going to buy her phones, plain and simple, can’t believe Version make another huge mistake on his women????

  • Marsg

    Did they really even need an event for this, they could have just sent a email.

  • carlos

    whos cares if its lame or not at least they’re creating new jobs for the country

  • Ray

    Other than the stupid racist comments, which let me respond to deh2002 with not every Latino is a criminal you ignorant buffoon, and there’s a lot of people who speak other languages and there’s nothing wrong with that as long as they can function here, which I’m sure with your small point of view you don’t run into much of them anyway so I don’t get your anger. And you only mentioned Mexico which means you really only have a problem with people who have darker skin than yourself, but then again idiots like you dislike every country even though this country was built on diversity that came from every country on earth, but then again you and your klan rally friends like to ignore history. Oh I’m sorry, I’m wrong because that’s assuming you read books and paid attention in school, let me guess you were a straight c/d student? I’m Latino and people like you make everyone look bad. Sorry to everyone for the long rant so let’s get back to the main point, I agree this was a pointless announcement that I doubt will be of any value in the future. They got everyone excited for nothing. Was hoping for a Verizon HTC one or 32-64 gb s4. I’m waiting for Verizon to announce a higher memory s4 before I purchase one of the two (doubt moto will make anything better) , if not good bye verizon hello at&t. I would really hate that though because their service is horrendous in my area. Come on Verizon don’t waste our time!

  • William Zoller

    Buhahahaha! Here’s a better idea: If you live in the United States of America, LEARN ENGLISH! Yes I’m Republican.

  • Tigerone123

    Verizon & JLo and mobile brand Viva Movil news has already backfired
    big time , ranging from current customers, stockholders, and the smartphone
    industry, and the public, their just too much bad publicity for one day that
    you have to read for yourself to believe? Just another flop venture by no other
    than JLo herself?