This is an actual Facebook entry posted by a friend of mine a few weeks ago. He was referencing the AT&T TV spots featuring Luke Wilson.
AT&T launched the campaign in response to Verizon’s “We’ve Got a Map For That” campaign, which uses red and blue maps to highlight AT&T’s 3G “dead spots” across the country. AT&T felt the need to counter punch, and thus came up with this tactical campaign.
The problem is, as the aforementioned Facebook entry alludes to, in its attempt to spin the facts, AT&T has dabbled in some untruths. Not that they lied, exactly—the lawyers must have racked up the billable hours splitting legal hairs. Seems the company’s idea of “coverage” isn’t what Verizon was talking about.
Here’s where it gets sticky for AT&T. If you lead your market to believe something, you better pay it off. Dancing around the facts may make you feel better, but it will just turn your audience off. And turn them against you.
As proof, a quick Google blog search on “AT&T 3G” finds verbatims from bloggers and AT&T customers alike saying “AT&T Lies Again”, “AT&T Moves the Goal Post”, and “Dude, where’s my 3G coverage?”
What’s more? While a marketer can contribute to the conversation, he very likely won’t get the last word. Case in point, here’s what Luke Wilson says…
And here’s what a non-paid Verizon customer says…
This can’t be the kind of word of mouth AT&T was hoping for. But that’s what happens when your audience catches you trying to mislead.
So what could AT&T have done to counter Verizon without bordering on the misleading? My advice would be to speak only about their strengths. Focus on markets where their 3G coverage is strong, and remind customers why they chose AT&T in the first place. Maybe even play off the ridiculousness of the more-places-is-better foundation of Verizon’s maps:
“True, Verizon has 3G coverage in Pierre, South Dakota.
But how often do you find yourself in Pierre, South Dakota?”
For many marketers, there are times you need to get out there and counter punch when a competitor starts eating your lunch. At such times, it is imperative that you do so transparently from your Brand Vision. And to do everything in your power to ensure the bond of trust between you and your customers is never compromised.
Trust is the currency of success.
Posted by Mickey