Cameron Diaz commercial causes Softbank system crash.

Here’s an example of an ad campaign that was too successful for its own good:

Cell phone numbers in Japan became portable last Tuesday, meaning DoCoMo users could now switch over to Au without changing their numbers, etc. (I remember when this happened years back in the US. I got the fuck out of my Sprint PCS contract ASAP.) Anyway, to beat out competitors, Softbank Mobile–which changed its name from Vodafone on Oct 1 and whose parent company owns 41% of Yahoo! Japan–launched a big ad campaign with Cameron Diaz advertising free calling minutes and text messaging–a new concept in Japan, where most users pay by the minute for each outgoing call.

Their campaign was so successful that Softbank stopped taking applications for new phone lines on Sunday, when their system became so inundated that it ceased to function.

Silly Softbank. That’s what happens when you crowd every commercial break with footage of a hot blond with a killer smile, introduce 15 paper-thin new handsets in 64 colors in one season, and guarantee cheaper prices than anyone else in the market, no matter what.