In the run-up to the Droid being released, I think most of us were amused by Verizons punchy advertising campaigns. It unleashed two attacks, one against iPhone selling AT&T and one against the iPhone itself. But AT&T has come back with a claim that the Verizon ad is massive misrepresentation – or “creative truth telling”, as I like to call it.
The “there’s a map for that” ad campaign claimed that Verizon has 5 times the 3G coverage of AT&T. Specifically, Verizon used the phrase “almost anywhere” to describe where you can get Verizon 3G coverage, and the phrase “spotty” to describe that of AT&T.
It seems to be this map in particular that is pissing AT&T off:
So what’s the beef?
AT&T claims that Verizon has been extremely “creative” with it’s definition of the term “3G” here. Both AT&T and Verizon use different infrastructure standards in their networks – but I’m not interested in getting into acronym territory here. What it boils down to is that both operators have both 2G, 2.5G and 3G elements in their networks. While 2G networks are capable of carrying data services, they are a hell of lot slower than 3G. What AT&T is claiming is that when Verizon compiled its map, it counted all the parts of the network that could possibly carry data – covering the map in red. It goes on to claim that when it compiled the AT&T map, it only counted the most up-to-date 3G past of the network, leaving the 2.5 and 2G areas blank.
And so AT&T has begun legal proceedings to try and stop this ad from being broadcast.
What we think?
Mmmmm… there’s more than one thing to be considered here. Of course if what AT&T is saying is true, then Verizon has to stop showing that ad. But there’s the more important issue of public perception here. First, most consumers will have no idea that there’s a court case going on. Second, if they do they will remember a funny and clever Verizon ad and assume that AT&T is acting out due to sour grapes. Third, if you believe what you see in TV ads (which you shouldn’t) the best way for AT&T to reach you is to create a similarly caustic and funny TV ad.