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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hitting where it hurts, there's an app for that

Part of me wanted to applaud the new ad campaign by Verizon Wireless, "There's a map for that" but then I saw the end of the commercial. The part that has prompted a lawsuit by AT&T, in which they show a map of AT&T's 3G coverage. The graphical display of the two providers' 3G coverage area is shocking, and although Verizon states that it represents AT&T's 3G areas specifically, AT&T feels that customers believe there is no wireless coverage in the white area.
The lawsuit requests an emergency injunction to stop the ads and claims significant losses of market share and goodwill, prohibiting them from competing. It is true that customers can be easily confused with the technical differences between having 3G coverage, and having slower wireless coverage. What matters is what the public believes, and AT&T polled many customers who were indeed under the impression that there was no coverage.

The Verizon commercial was upbeat and positive, and sold benefits of their available smartphones and superior 3G coverage. It should have left it at that. While Verizon technically did nothing wrong, it is an accurate map, directly attacking their rival was not a necessary maneuver and could cause problems for them. It is usually wise to keep your hits above the belt, even when you have a knock-out punch ready to deliver. In business, your competitor can hit back with the legal system.

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