AT&T vs. Verizon
By Kirk Littell
A heavyweight ad battle continues to rage during commercial breaks across America. It’s a somewhat equitable battle in terms of dollars spent but my scorecard shows AT&T getting drubbed by Verizon in terms of creativity.
AT&T continues to advertise in “damage control mode” after Verizon’s recent onslaught of ads, with a new spot featuring actor Luke Wilson. If you watched any TV over the weekend you invariably saw him standing in the middle of the US map where he tosses postcards to all of the locations covered in AT&Ts 3G network. This spot is very tedious as he slowly reads city names one by one and adds odd “fun facts” as he throws the cards. The initial ad gains some momentum when you see a second commercial where he continues to throw cards until the map is bursting with them. Kudos on that media buy, but this pair seems like a big “so what”.
All of this was of course brought on by Verizon’s choice to deride AT&T’s coverage areas in multiple ads that coincided with the release of it’s new 3G phone, The Droid. They turned the iPhone’s “There’s an app for that” line into “There’s a map for that” and started attacking the largest US phone company with said maps. This ad (seen in the photo above) uses a classic holiday special to compare the networks. But as entertaining as these commercials are, comparing the maps side-by-side isn’t exactly fair. Or at least that what AT&T argues in their lawsuit against Verizon, saying that they do have 2G coverage in the areas that are not 3G-ready. (Verizon’s map for AT&T only depicts the 3G areas and nothing more; they’ve omitted the 2G and 2.5G coverage areas.)
Bloomberg.com reports: “U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten said that while the ads, which use maps to compare the companies’ third-generation networks, might be “sneaky” or “clever,” they are “literally true.” AT&T will have another chance to ask the court to prohibit the ads in a Dec. 16 hearing. Batten said AT&T is unlikely to prevail.”
Stay tuned, and if you read this blog with your 3G device just stay out of Death Valley, I don’t think either wireless carrier covers it – yet.