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AT&T gets Luke Wilson to hit Verizon again

Phone company continues to fight accusations that its 3G network is poor. One new spot uses the same strategy as the iPhone, featuring simultaneous voice and data.

In its attempt to redress the imbalance created by the latest Verizon ads, AT&T has hurriedly cobbled together not just one Luke Wilson ad, but several.

Curiously, one ad features precisely the same strategy as that of the latest iPhone advertising: reminding those who might still be on the fence, on the phone, or even on the lam that you can't simultaneously enjoy voice and Web surfing on the Verizon 3G network--and hence on the Motorola Droid.

So here we have Luke Wilson, still looking a little peaky and dressed in a difficult brown. Behind Luke, we have a man trying to use two phones (by implication, Verizon phones) to perform a task the iPhone will manage alone.

Some might find it entertaining that as his friend attempts to download something on one of his Verizon phones, he complains that it's all going rather slowly. Others might find this both true and funny.

AT&T hasn't merely paid Wilson a little more than 3G to make this comparison. Someone, somewhere, has, perhaps even wisely, said, "We need a map to counter Verizon's map."

So the writers hit upon the idea of a two-part extravaganza (this already aired during Tuesday's "Dancing with the Stars" finale), in which Wilson produces postcards from all the different American towns that really do--no, really--have AT&T 3G coverage.

Wilson says his job is to set the record straight, with respect to Verizon's vicious besmirching of the AT&T network. He tries his best. He tells us that AT&T covers 97 percent of all Americans--yes, 300 million people.

The AT&T map also seems far more filled-in and far more colorful than it appears in Verizon spots, though one suspects that local word of mouth might be rather stronger, in this instance, than national advertising. If you live in Spokane, Wash., for example, and you know someone there who has spotty 3G service on a particular network, that is far more powerful an influencer than any number of Wilson's postcards or Verizon's barbs.

It's enlightening, however, to discover that Wilson once dated someone in Tulsa, Okla., and it didn't work out. Did she catch him simultaneously calling and Web surfing? Perhaps we will never know.