Verizon nixes holiday ads to continue AT&T-bashing

Marketing exec says once the company saw third-party research on 3G networks that convinced it of its own superiority in that area, it radically changed ad strategy.

If you thought that all wireless carriers know just how good their competitors' networks are, you might be suffering from a dropped conception.

In a recent speech to the Association of National Advertisers, posted on the AdAge Web site, Verizon Chief Marketing Officer John Stratton explained that his company couldn't get hold of any good data on just how reliable AT&T's network is. So it commissioned a third-party survey, one that seems to have sent it giddy with joy.

"What we saw, we sort of suspected, but it was almost astounding," he said.

So almost astounding, in fact, that Stratton said the company canned its fourth-quarter holiday campaign, which had already been produced but not yet aired (and presumably did not mention AT&T), and began mapping out its besmirchment of its rival's alleged network deficiencies.

"There was a bit of fact here that needed to be expressed aggressively to the marketplace," he added.

The bit of fact, which AT&T feels has been stretched into the part of the bookstore entitled "fiction," revolved around the accusation that AT&T's network has more holes than your average chunk of emmental.

The new Verizon ads seem certainly to have stirred a girding of loins in the marketplace and perhaps helped sales of the Droid, which are approaching 1 million .

Stratton added that because people are using cell phones in so many more ways, the strength of a company's network will be an increasingly important factor in consumer choice.

Strangely, he said nothing about Verizon one day offering the iPhone on its network.

There again, with the agility the company showed in producing the anti-AT&T ads so quickly, perhaps they're already shooting some happy Verizon iPhone ads. You know, just in case. You know, somewhere in Fiji, perhaps. You know, with the money they're saving now that AT&T has dropped its lawsuit against the map ads .

 

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