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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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RE: Talk and browse the web at the same time?
By Omega215D on 11/18/2009 10:27:03 PM , Rating: 2
I don't get how people can say CDMA can't be used to talk and surf at the same time. Last time I checked a lot of the new 3G GSM phones use WCDMA... Also if people are talking and surfing at the same time well then they better not b!tch when their battery dies in a short matter of time.

Also GSM and CDMA are just different in how they break up spectrum which shouldn't cause too much of a difference in phone usage (though GSM tends to get "crowded")

RE: Talk and browse the web at the same time?
By sprockkets on 11/18/09, Rating: 0
RE: Talk and browse the web at the same time?
By 67STANG on 11/19/2009 2:17:29 AM , Rating: 2
The only reason you can do both on AT&T's network is because when it drops your calls every 3 minutes... you can hop right on the net. My friend's Droid loads pages much faster over CDMA than my iPhone with GSM. It's probably a pipe-utilization issue.

RE: Talk and browse the web at the same time?
By mcnabney on 11/19/2009 12:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
CDMA and EVDO are much more efficient per mhz of spectrum. That means that Verizon can send more data and handle more voice calls than AT&T can for the same frequency band. CDMA also has a range advantage and a cleaner hand-off, which is why GSM will sometimes drop a call when signal isn't an issue. I had plenty of dropped calls when signal was not an issue when I used GSM, but I have never had a dropped connection that wasn't signal related when on Verizon. It is still just radio waves, so the bottoms of steep hills and basements hurt all carriers equally.

RE: Talk and browse the web at the same time?
By Alexstarfire on 11/19/2009 6:01:35 PM , Rating: 2
I've never had a call drop when I had good signal. I've had calls drop when the other person had really bad signal though. AT&T can't be blamed for that though.

By mcnabney on 11/19/2009 11:36:40 PM , Rating: 2
Dropped call when you have signal = carrier's tower/switch screwed up.

Dropped call when you lost signal = no coverage in that spot.

You can blame the carrier for both since the first involves equipment issues which are controllable and the second involves the network not being deployed where you are. The key question is, when do you have a legitimate expectation of signal. Walking down the streets of New York - damn well better have a signal. Inside an elevator in the basement of a large steel building, probably not going to be possible under any conditions.

By sprockkets on 11/19/2009 1:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
Bud, that isn't my opinion, that's Verizon's; I worked for Verizon's smart phone division, and that's how I know of the limitation. We have people complain that they get voicemail notifications while using EVDO, and that's because you can't receive a call while receiving data.

You can if you are on EVDO but the connection is idle, aka not downloading data the moment a call comes in. They did that so as not to interrupt your data connection.

RE: Talk and browse the web at the same time?
By rvassar on 11/18/09, Rating: -1
By thekdub on 11/18/2009 11:30:56 PM , Rating: 2
they can not do multitasking at the most important time - when on the phone and needing to check an email.

I think I can fix that problem in 5 words or less:

"Can I call you back?"

RE: Talk and browse the web at the same time?
By zackhund on 11/19/2009 12:55:03 AM , Rating: 3
Wow....thats amazing to hear. Since I was on my Droid....dialed into a conference call via Bluetooth and browsing the web at the same time!

By Omega215D on 11/19/2009 12:57:19 PM , Rating: 2
FIT also confirmed this as well... though with using GPS. Does that count as web browsing? I never did it on my LG enV Touch because if I'm talking to someone they deserve my full attention and I'm not a fan of wearing BlueTooth Headsets.

*thanks to you guys I have buyers remorse... if only my phone didn't die in June I wouldn't have used my upgrade to get the Touch...

By sprockkets on 11/19/2009 7:13:04 PM , Rating: 2
I talked with FIT above. He couldn't load a fresh page while on a call (obviously tested w/o wifi). I bet you can't either.

Doesn't mean the Droid phone sucks though.

By zerocool84 on 11/19/2009 2:51:40 AM , Rating: 4
Multitasking on a iPhone??? That's rich.

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