Neither company would comment to media outlets.
Several weeks ago, AT&T took offense to Verizon’s snarky “There’s A Map for That” ads, which riffed on the Apple iPhone “There’s an App for That” campaign. AT&T is the exclusive carrier for the iPhone; the provider was reacting to Verizon’s claims that it offers only spotty next-gen access – not a good thing for iPhone owners wanting to make full use of their devices. To prove its point, Verizon publicized maps of its 3G coverage next to those of AT&T’s, pulled from AT&Ts own Web site.
AT&T really didn’t like that.
So, it sued Verizon and asked a federal court to pull the ads, including the spoof of “Island of Misfit Toys.” Verizon fired back, saying “the truth hurts,” and contending that AT&T has not been forthcoming about its intermittent 3G coverage.
A judge agreed. He called Verizon’s ads “sneaky,” although not misleading, and that was that – until AT&T debuted its ads featuring actor Luke Wilson. They’re pretty lame but they do get in a few decent slaps, such as pointing out that Verizon’s 3G customers can’t talk on the phone and surf the Web at the same time. However, AT&T doesn’t refute Verizon’s 3G coverage claims, instead focusing on its total reach throughout the United States.
On Wednesday, both AT&T and Verizon ended the legal dueling but didn’t say why. Expect the marketing battle to continue, though, especially with the holidays – which typically command strong consumer electronics sales – just around the corner.