Verizon Wireless hasn't exactly been coy in attacks against rival mobile provider AT&T. They skewered AT&T's marquee product, the iPhone, and pounded on its 3G network with a series of humorous TV ads. AT&T drew scorn for trying to shut down the ads with a heavy-handed lawsuit against Verizon at the beginning of November, arguing that the "There's a Map for That" ads wrongly portray AT&T's wireless coverage as paltry. But on Wednesday, an Atlanta district court judge rejected AT&T's request to have the offending spots pulled while the case percolates. That decision and the coincidental debut of a curious new anti-Verizon ad featuring indie movie actor Luke Wilson have drawn some blogger mockery on AT&T.
Counterproductive From the Start TechDrit's Mike Masnick can't understand why AT&T decided to sue Verizon in the first place, as the move was bound to raise the profile of the Verizon ad campaign: "The ad might still get taken down if AT&T wins, but it's unlikely Verizon's ad campaign is going to last until the lawsuit is finally decided, anyway. So for now, all it's done is driven a lot more attention to the ad, in which Verizon comes out favorably."
AT&T Digging It's Own Grave Over at ZDNet, Sam Diaz checks out AT&T's new attempt to challenge Verizon on the airwaves, a short TV spot featuring comedy actor Luke Wilson, only to find it lacking. "I'll give AT&T credit for making the attempt to even the playing field but - and maybe this is just me - the commercial felt sort of low-budget, like something thrown together in haste. Cheap set. Cheap props. Marketing messages in place of statistics. What is it telling me that's new?" He critiques AT&T's other marketing strategy, a website debunking the Verizon claims: "This doesn't help the company's image - not by any stretch. In fact, you may recall that hole that AT&T was digging itself into. It appears the shovel has been handed from the legal department to the marketing department."
'AT&T Awarded Hug and a Box of Tissues' quips John Paczkowski at All Things Digital. He paraphrases Verizon's rebuttal to AT&T's charges, "the truth does hurt," and goes on to denounce AT&T's attack ad. "Sadly, the first effort is not nearly so clever as Verizon's (VZ) and features far too much Luke Wilson and far too little humor."
...But Verizon Is Still Shy of Victory At Engadget, Nilay Patel calls the move a "big win for Verizon," but cautions against thinking "the whole thing is over." As he reveals, the judge commented that he found the ads "sneaky," and said that the typical "semi-catatonic." He says these words indicate the stew will keep brewing for some time: "Whether or not that's enough to support a legal conclusion that the ads are misleading is a fight for another day"
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