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AT&T uses Luke Wilson in a counterattack on Verizon's "Anti-AT&T" commercials

A federal judge handed AT&T a lump of Christmas coal, denying the company's pleas for an injunction to take Verizon's commercials mocking AT&T's network off the air.
There will be no injunction in AT&T's stocking this Christmas

Negative advertising can be a tremendously effective tool, just ask Microsoft.  While people may by now be getting tired of Apple's attack commercials against PCs, for several years they served as an effective tool in building Apple's market share back to relevance and raising the company's brand image. 

However, what's especially lethal is when you can create a negative advertising campaign that's actually true.  That's what Verizon did when it pounced on Apple's partner AT&T over the company's poor 3G coverage.  With AT&T's partner Apple recently admitting that the carrier dropped as many as 30 percent of its calls in some regions, on average, Verizon, the nation's largest carrier, pounced on its second place competitor airing a series of commercials mocking it.

AT&T took a gamble and took Verizon to court over its new "There's a map for that" commercials.  It argued that TV viewers by and large weren't smart enough to distinguish from 3G coverage maps and total coverage maps, despite the Verizon commercial providing textual and verbal indications that the maps were representative of 3G coverage.  Thus AT&T argued the commercials would mislead customers into thinking AT&T had no coverage in much of the country when it really only had no 3G coverage.

The company upped the ante when it asked for an injunction on Verizon's latest "Island of Misfit Toys" commercials, expanding the case in federal court.  However, Verizon refused to back down from its attacks, commenting in court filings "the truth hurts."

Now AT&T's Christmas wish to take its competitor's ads off the air has been met with disappointment.  U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Batten Sr. handed the telecom a lump of coal, denying their request for an injunction, commenting that while Verizon's commercials were "sneaky" they weren't misleading. 

Judge Batten Sr. commented that people might "misunderstand" the commercials, "but that doesn’t mean they’re misleading."  He even had both sides laughing when he elaborated, "Most people who are watching TV are semi-catatonic.  They’re not fully alive."

The loss is no laughing matter for AT&T, though, as it faces a worse hit to its already marred brand image, thanks to the heightened publicity the suit has given the commercials.  Recent brand studies showed that the commercials seemed to be working with Verizon's brand perception rising over the past several weeks, and AT&T's brand image plummeting.

AT&T will have one final chance to try to silence Verizon, at a second hearing on December 16.  However, with Verizon crying that AT&T is trying to silence its right to free speech and AT&T unable to directly challenge the commercials' accuracy, AT&T's hopes of a last-minute Christmas surprise seem to be growing increasingly dim.

In other news, AT&T has finally decided to combat Verizon's commercials directly with a commercial of their own. The company has employed Luke Wilson to jab Verizon on such issues as simultaneous talking/web surfing and the company's lack of “popular smartphones”. You can view the commercial here.

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Hey AT&T...
By StevoLincolnite on 11/18/2009 9:18:31 PM , Rating: 4
I know a way for you to make those adverts false and misleading AT&T... and that's to fix your network and provide more coverage, stop trying to take the cheap and easy way out!


On another note, I'm disappointed in America's 3G coverage, I actually went on a Holiday over to Los Angeles last month (I'm a country bumpkin here, was excellent though!) - And the AT&T network coverage and speed, was absolute crap. - Here in Australia with Telstra, although they are expensive we DO have the largest 3G network coverage by land mass, and one of the best in terms of speeds.
And customer support? Are the phone lines at AT&T run by ferrets on a spinning wheel pressing scripts on the computer? Because that was the impression I got.

Anyway, I felt that AT&T was like our Optus, full of words, but under-deliver on everything.

RE: Hey AT&T...
By Omega215D on 11/18/2009 10:18:44 PM , Rating: 2
The thing is the Verizon Wireless commercials I've seen have the maps with 3G Coverage underneath them in big bold letters. How is that misleading or sneaky? If people can't read that then the US is really in trouble.

Instead of spending money on lawyers how about building some more towers and repeaters?

RE: Hey AT&T...
By AyashiKaibutsu on 11/19/2009 12:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
I used to work for the company that handled the support for phone activations, and yea you pretty much nailed it on the head... Remember when the iPhone came out and how horrible support was for it? It was largely because half the people at the center hired to handle the big influx didn't get their logins for the programs needed.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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