"There’s an ad for that!"

Posted: November 26, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

So I will take a little turn from my typical Social Media Marketing blog post and dive a little more into the realm of business and business strategy (of course I am throwing the advertising in the post).

There are many truly great rivalries in the world of sports. Fortunately we also have great rivalries in the world of business. Whether it is the PC vs. MAC, Pepsi vs. Coke, out-sourcing vs. in-sourcing, or AT&T vs. Verizon. As a disclaimer, I have been a customer of AT&T (and Cingular) and am a current customer of Verizon. I was not impressed with the cell service I received at AT&T while the customer service at Verizon is not always the best…. there I got that all off my chest.

As for the reasoning behind my post, the new “fight” these two companies is making me laugh… mostly at AT&T. Unless you have been living under a rock… or just do not watch television, you have probably seen Verizon’s ads poking fun at AT&T’s inferior 3g coverage with their “There’s a map for that” tagline. From a truly strategic and creative stand point, the ads are very well done. AT&T, understandably, was not happy with these spots (my favorite is this one that uses the island of misfit toys with the iPhone being the misfit toy because of the spotty 3g coverage). In fact AT&T even went as far as to sue Verizon for the ads, which the court threw out.

This is where poor Luke Wilson comes in. In this, the first spot done by BBDO (that just seems a little rushed by AT&T), Luke tries to tell us why AT&T is the better cell phone provider. This spot just does not do it for me. I understand the thinking behind it, as AT&T is trying to save face but from the commercial it appears as the only thing they really have going for them is the iPhone. It is the hottest phone by far in the market right now and will continue to be that way. Verizon just happens to have the largest 3g network, and that is what they have going for them. There is no disputing those points. Unfortunately for AT&T, Verizon is starting to catch up on phones. These phones do not have the app capabilities of the iPhone but the Droid has some great offerings.

Back to the strategy. AT&T’s current strategy is more of a retaliatory one. They feel that they must “clean up” the image of its service when really, at least to this blogger, they still have nothing to worry about. Look at the iPhone. It is still a very highly sought after item. They also have many other phones, like the line of Blackberrys they carry, that will continue to work out really well for them. Yes it is a matter of market share but until Big V can come up with a phone that matches the iPhone’s popularity (or if the internet rumors hold true and VZW gets an iPhone by 2011) AT&T will still sell more phones. People will still “defect” between carriers. That is the American way.

Now do not get me wrong. I really love the ads done by BBDO. They are one of the better ad agencies. Unfortunately an agency many times has to play by the client’s rules. Sometimes agencies are order takers. This stifles creativity. Honestly it is only recently that McCann Erickson has been really creative with Verizon’s ads. Sometimes a little competition is good not only for consumers, but creativity too.

UDPATE: I finally saw an AT&T ad that was good. Ok so it was more of an Apple ad that AT&T kinda jumped on to. It actually showed how one could make use of the data and voice that AT&T’s network allows. It then sent a jab straight to Verizon. Thanks guys. I am glad to see a good ad.

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