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- One of Budweiser's "Real Men of Genius" ads profiled "Mr. Talking-Too-Loud-On-His-Cell-Phone Guy":
Nothing screams "I'm important" like a man screaming "I'm important" into a cell phone.♩ Did I mention I'm important ♩
Anime & Manga
- Miyuki from Nurse Angel Ririka SOS owning a cellphone in the mid-1990s (and as an elementary schooler no less) signifies her as wealthy.
Films — Animated
- In Horton Hears a Who!, one of the mayor's girls wants a cell phone, claiming that everyone else in class has one. When her dad says she's exaggerating, she shows him her class photo, with everyone but her talking on their cells.
Films — Live-Action
- In the 1980 comedy film Caddyshack, Rodney Dangerfield plays Al Czervik, a real-estate developer who is shown to be eccentric/filthy rich right from the start. He has a telephone right in his golf bag, which he answers while out on the course. This was not a typical "brick" phone, but from what we could see it was more like a typical 1970s desk phone, complete with an acoustic ringing bell and a coiled handset cord.
- The main characters in Clueless all having mobile phones despite being in high school was intended as a joke about how spoilt and well-off they were. Modern viewers tend not to understand why a high school student with a mobile phone is supposed to be funny.
- Harry from When Harry Met Sally... has a fake plastic car phone, just so he can fake talking on it, to look rich and important when someone else is talking on theirs.
- Gordon Gecko on Wall Street has an extravagant, top-of-the-the-line, and brick-sized cell phone. This is used as a Technology Marches On gag in the sequel Money Never Sleeps when he is released from prison and gets said phone, now obsolete, returned to him.
- Parodied on Zoolander, where the title character's cell phone is impractically tiny.
- In the Doctor Who Past Doctor Adventures novel Business Unusual (written in 1997, set in 1986) Mel's dad is a businessman who's extremely proud of his mobile phone. The Doctor, who knows that in ten years they'll be a fraction of the size and a lot more common, isn't impressed.
- In Kim Newman's short story "Organ Donors", Sally Rhodes's new job includes being provided with a "portable phone", which is indicative of how important it is (although being Sally, she doesn't actually use it). Newman notes this as one of the things that makes the story an Unintentional Period Piece.
- Dave Barry had a newspaper column in the late 90s or early 00s about how smaller cell phones and larger SUVs were the status symbols of the time. He predicted a lot of traffic accidents in the future: everyone will drive vehicles the size of Delaware, but they won't be able to watch the road because they'll be too distracted by losing their rice grain-sized cell phones mid-conversation.
- Crowley having a car phone in his Bentley (also owning a Bentley) and an answering machine in Good Omens is a symbol of his being filthy rich.
- Touhou Kourindou ~ Curiosities of Lotus Asia has a spin on this thanks to Touhou's Schizo Tech setting. When Sumireko (a person from the Outside World) visits Kourindou, she unintentionally takes some wind out of Rinnosuke's sails by saying that the Outside World technology he has on display is 20-30 years out of date; in particular she's somewhat surprised to see an old model cellphone that doesn't fold. She then impresses Rinnosuke by showing him her smartphone and describing some of the things it can do.
- Saved by the Bell was one of the earliest satires of this trope, as Zack Morris had one of these.
- On Corner Gas the town of Dog's River is in the middle of nowhere and has really lousy cell reception. The residents are forced to use special cellphone with bulky signal boosters. When it is announced that a new cell tower will be erected in the town, the main characters get new cellphones and a try to show up each other by gettign progressively smaller cellphones. However, when the plans for the new cell tower are abandoned, they have to go back to their old bulky models.
- In the "Jeffery's" recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live the manager of a Jeffery's (designer clothing) store has a very tiny phone, about half the size of his thumb. In the last sketch he has a really large brick phone. When the sales clerks laugh at him he says "big is the new small. Cami Diaz has one twice this size."
- Spoofed on 30 Rock with Dennis Duffy, who brags about being the top beeper supplier in the city, at a time when beepers were becoming obsolete.
- Whateley Universe: With more than one Gadgeteer Genius working on cellphones, and charging appropriately, the quality of a cellphone indicates either your connections to those Gadgeteers, or your ability to pay the price for such a cellphone:
Jadis [...] pulled out her phone, which I now knew was a gift from her father. That meant it had features that even my bPhone probably didn’t have, although Bunny had designed an entire phone OS so that she could write or update apps for the phone to give it new functionality whenever she felt like it.
- Such as the bPhone and the stuff Jadis's dad can make, as said in Ayla and the Mad Scientist (Chap 20):
“Like I would give you just some mass market techno-trinket?” Zach asked with a grin. “I had ABBY assemble this inside a gPhone casing. It can do everything a gPhone can do- except maybe fink you out to the MCO- and a whole lot more. It has ten times the RAM, its battery holds 15 times the charge, and- hey, just check out the ‘handbook’ for all the apps, otherwise we’ll be here all day. I basically told ABBY to go for ‘awesome’, and I’d say that she did a good job of it.”
- Or the enhanced gPhone from The Final Trump (Part 1):
- An early 2000s episode of Arthur had the local Rich Bitch, Muffy, as the only character known to have a cell phone. Later episodes have everyone owning one.
- Daria: The main character's parents both own cellphones, in the middle-late 1990's when this was comparitively rare and cellphones were the size and shape of housebricks. Helen Morgendorffer carries hers because she is genuinely in a high-status high-wage job (lawyer). Jake Morgendorffer carries his because he aspires to be in a high-status well-paid job.
- In "Brian Wallows, Peter Swallows" on Family Guy, Brian sings a song about how society has changed since the 50's. He sings a line about a businessman with a cell phone and how busy his life must be, then mentioning how the phone will give him a tumor, but his doctor will see it and admit how cool he is.
Those fancy cellphones, make people mumble "gee whiz, look how important he is, his life must rule!"He'll get a tumor, but on the surgery day, the doc will see it and say "Man, you must really be cool!"
- The 2001 short A Kitty Bobo Show: Cellphones was about a cat who recently got a cellphone. Kitty Bobo is constantly annoying his friends by bragging about his phone. In the end he breaks it and his friends all get cellphones, causing him anguish because everyone else has one but him.
- Almost no one in As Told by Ginger has a cellphone besides the rich kids.
- Charlotte Pickles' cell phone in Rugrats distinguished her as a wealthy businesswoman.
- Rich kid Lorenzo from Hey Arnold! has a cellphone at a time when pagers were still commonplace.
- An urban legend from when cell phones were still a rarity: On a busy commuter train, some businessman is loudly chatting on a cellular phone, mostly with "important" sounding talk. Then an older man on the train suffers a heart attack. When other passengers and/or a conductor approaches the businessman to call 911 on his cell phone, he eventually sheepishly admits that the phone is a fake (and was obviously just trying to impress people with it).
- The Chinese nickname for cell phones is due to this trope; back in the day, they were most often seen being carried by Triad head honchos, so cell phones were referred to as 大哥大 ("Big Brother's Big [Phone]").