Commentary

Verizon Ads: 'There's A Lawsuit For That'

Verizon Wireless ad

AT&T and Verizon Wireless are set for a courtroom showdown next Wednesday over the Verizon ads comparing network coverage between the two companies which its chief rival says are false and misleading.

The outcome of the Nov. 18 hearing in Atlanta federal court will determine whether Verizon has to immediately pull the pervasive campaign which use side-by-side U.S. maps to show Verizon has five times more 3G coverage than AT&T.

In their escalating spat, AT&T this week filed an amended complaint to include Verizon's new trio of holiday-themed ads bashing its network in its prior lawsuit over the company's "There's a Map for That" commercial.

The Verizon ads have clearly gotten under AT&T's skin. But instead of pouring resources into a legal against Verizon, with an uncertain outcome, why doesn't AT&T try to come up with its own cheeky ads to counter Verizon's?

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Touting itself as the nation's "fastest 3G network" in current ads only invites snickers in light of its well-publicized problems handling the data traffic demand from the iPhone. AT&T should be playing to its strength, which is the iPhone. The problem is that its network undercuts that advantage, making it harder to gear advertising to the Apple device.

Verizon ingeniously exploited that issue in its new "Island of Misfit Toys" parody ad, depicting the forlorn iPhone as a victim of AT&T's poor 3G coverage, as useful as a Charlie-In-The-Box. AT&T doesn't add to the gravity of its legal claims either by describing the commercial in some detail in its amended complaint.

"While AT&T is deadly serious about this accusation, the fact that it must make it by referencing creatures like the Abominable Snow Monster and a pink spotted elephant makes it, well, hysterical," anoted John Paczkowski of All things D.

In its hearing for a temporary restraining order to halt the Verizon ads, AT&T has been given permission to bring audiovisual equipment into the courtroom, presumably to show the Verizon commercials in question. But if the judge breaks out laughing during the "Misfit Toys" spot, that strategy may back fire.

4 comments about "Verizon Ads: 'There's A Lawsuit For That'".
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  1. Michael Deboer from Three Winds Marketing & Advertising, November 13, 2009 at 4:06 p.m.

    Verizon no doubt hit a nerve at AT&T, just as Mac hit one at Microsoft with the "I'm a Mac" ads. It should tell the average consumer there's some truth to these ads, but the average consumer will not know of this lawsuit; they will be watching TV laughing at the misfit toys.

    If AT&T really wants to battle Verizon, they should rip on the android platform and how much cooler the iPhone is over a boring Motorola piece - after all, the consumers buying up smartphones are material possession-savvy.

    C'mon AT&T, appeal to people's gadget insecurity instead of looking like a suit with hurt feelings!

  2. Russell Cross from Prentke Romich, November 13, 2009 at 4:19 p.m.

    AT&T irritated by Verizon? "There's a flap for that."
    Great ad from the marketing folks? "There's a clap for that."
    More cheeky ads? "There's a gap for that."
    Fed up with humorless lawyers? "There's a slap for that."
    Bored with frivolous suits? "Take a nap for that!"

  3. Matt Lowden from Mediasmith, Inc., November 13, 2009 at 7:45 p.m.

    Why doesn't AT&T take the money their pouring into this lawsuit and put it towards improving their 3G coverage. There's no denying that it's pathetic.

    Signed,
    A Loyal iPhone User

  4. Angela Wilson from Angela Wilson Communications, November 15, 2009 at 10:50 a.m.

    AT&T should stop bemoaning the ads and start putting money into its incredibly ineffective network. The ads are terrific and spark familiarity with the season (memories of Christmases gone by) as well as empathize with AT&T customers who suffer chronic bouts of "Crappy Service" fatigue.

    It would also be nice to see its monopoly in Midwestern states splintered so smaller companies can offer TRUE high speed Internet to rural customers, as well as city dwellers who are on the fringes of even DSL service... but that is a soap box for another day.

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