In a battle between AT&T and Verizon Wireless that never seems to end, AT&T's partner Apple now appears to be getting into the mix with two retaliatory iPhone TV ad that air Monday night. The ads comes hot on the heels of AT&T's TV ad campaign that aimed to "set the record straight" around Verizon's "there's a map for that" campaign.
The two Apple ads (see below) show the iPhone's ability to browse the Web and manage phone calls simultaneously, a feat that's possible over AT&T's UMTS/GSM wireless network but not over Verizon's CDMA network, according to an account in Apple Insider.
With its two ad spots, Apple is clearly taking aim at a Verizon ad message which mocks the iPhone for lacking a "real keyboard" and the capability to run "simultaneous apps," for example.
Meanwhile, following up on the tamer approach of issuing a letter to customers, the new AT&T's commercials attack maps used in Verizon's Droid commercials which show a much wider 3G coverage area for Verizon than for AT&T.
In the AT&T advertising, actor Luke Walker makes the point that AT&T's cell phone coverage reaches 97 percent of all Americans. AT&T, though, is referring to 2.5G and 3G coverage combined, as opposed to the 3G coverage touted in Verizon's commercials.
In case you haven't heard yet, AT&T filed a lawsuit against Verizon earlier this month, accusing its rival of making "false and misleading statements" in its own ads. AT&T says Verizon's ads imply that customers not connected to AT&T's3G network are unable to make calls whatsoever -- when actually, they are merely bumped down to slower speeds.
Last Wednesday, a federal court denied a request for a temporary restraining order from AT&T to quash Verizon's controversial marketing blitz, ruling that the two parties must continue to duke things out in court before a decision is reached over pulling the Verizon ads.
Now, AT&T and its mobile phone partner Apple have jumped off the higher road, adopting the newer attitude that, "If you can't lick ‘em, join ‘em."
Watching the two wireless giants try to clobber each other over the TV airwaves should make for entertaining TV viewing straight through the holiday season, and maybe beyond that. well into 2010.
Eventually, the public will probably lose interest in this breed of TV drama, just as people ultimately get tired of many types of television fare.
If the two contenders involved were not AT&T and Verizon, there might even be a danger that folks would turn off the warring ad messages entirely.
But increasingly, life these days revolves more and more around mobile phones. Those who live in the US are bound to pay some attention to the cacophonous fighting between the nation's two largest wireless carriers, whether or not they understand or even care about the differences between 2.5G and 3G wireless.