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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: That commercial was...
By FITCamaro on 11/19/2009 8:43:36 AM , Rating: 5
See I don't know what you're talking about. On my Droid I can be using the GPS navigation, which uses both the 3G (to pull the maps) and the GPS at the same time, while also making a phone call.

People who can't be on the internet and the phone at the same time I think have a phone not capable of both at the same time. I don't think its a network limitation because I've done it.


RE: That commercial was...
By mcnabney on 11/19/2009 11:38:44 AM , Rating: 2
You are correct. The CDMA voice network and EVDO rev A data network (found on Verizon, Sprint, Alltel, and US Cellular) are completely different. Some devices don't have a chip that can handle both connections at the same time. Others do.


RE: That commercial was...
By sprockkets on 11/19/2009 1:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
Did you make the phone call while using the GPS or did you use the GPS while on a call?

It's not a phone limitation, it's a network limitation of CDMA/EVDO. Besides, what good is a GPS when you have no signal in the middle of nowhere, because even Verizon doesn't have 100% coverage? You don't think that those base maps are all dependent on the network 100% do you? It would awfully suck to have your phone say "Oh sorry, can't navigate without Verizon, sorry!" That would be stupid.


RE: That commercial was...
By FITCamaro on 11/19/2009 2:13:47 PM , Rating: 2
I was using the GPS navigation w/ turn by turn directions feature of the phone. And while doing that I can make and receive calls. I know the phone is using the 3G while using the GPS maps cause it shows you. So its handling 3G connectivity to get maps, using the GPS chip to get location, and handling the phone call.


RE: That commercial was...
By sprockkets on 11/19/2009 2:43:09 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not saying you are wrong, but while no other Verizon phone has issues with making and receiving calls either while on EVDO it just puts the connection on hold, then resumes the data connection when the call is done.

Saying there are chips to use both CDMA and EVDO means it has to have a dual radio. Verizon wasn't going to solve this until SVDO, but instead will just go to LTE, since that actually will inherit the UMTS way of doing things, being able to send both voice and data over the same connection.

I think you would have to wait a while to see the new Google Map app stop displaying actual pics of the road vs. just the street lines. If you really want to test it out, try loading a fresh web page while on a call and see if it works.

I know all of this from doing smartphone support for Verizon. I seriously doubt that if they overcame this limitation they would be silent about it.


RE: That commercial was...
By FITCamaro on 11/19/2009 3:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
Apparently you're right. Oh well. It doesn't affect me using GPS so that's what I care about.


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