PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — From the outside, the bright blue storefront on North 2nd Street by Girard Avenue looks like any other store. But the door is locked, there are no windows to see what, if anything, is inside, and the mystery behind all this is stopping a lot of people in their tracks.
“I’m trying to figure it out, I don’t understand it,” said one woman.
“It could be a type of bank store, I have no idea,” said a man.
The store is also nondescript, except for bold white lettering that reads: 404 store not found.
But if you take a closer look, there’s actually another message in tiny lettering. And at the bottom it reveals the store is basically an ad for a new wireless company called Visible.
“It’s called anti-marketing,” said Dr. Jay Sinha, a professor at Temple University’s Fox School of Business, who published a book about the concept called “Reverse Psychology Marketing.”
The people behind Visible, along with The Onion, made this online video, poking fun at traditional wireless companies.
But it also explains the vision plan: It offers unlimited talk text and data for $40 a month. It keeps expenses low by not having stores or an 800-number. Instead, you sign up and pay your bill on the Visible app.
Dr. Sinha said Visible’s nontraditional marketing campaign may be meant to target a younger customer, “because millennials are so jaded, it peaks their interest.”
“We really felt like it was a fun way to go to market. It’s really big and bold and in your face and it’s also really simple,” said Beth Veen, the brand lead at Visible.
Veen added the age groups who use Visible vary as wide as those who use ride sharing apps.
“The service is for anyone who’s comfortable using an app on their phone,” she said.
Visible runs off of Verizon’s network. But the unlimited data it offers is at a slower speed, so it may not be the best plan if say you’re a social media star. Still, for some, that $40 a month price tag may make it worth it.
Veen said the company was started to fill a void.
“We’ve been able to quietly move into this industry and we’re not yet seeing the full reaction from the competition,” she said.
For now, Visible doesn’t sell any phones so you have to bring your own. It also only works on iPhones but it will eventually work with Androids.