What do you do when a competitor produces a comparative advertisement that really hammers you hard? Well, one thing you may be able to do is take the problem to court. And that is what AT&T is doing because they are not very happy with new television ads being run by Verizon.
The ads claim to compare the 3G coverage (i.e., primarily high-speed data access) in the U.S. for both providers by showing a side-by-side comparison in the form of nationwide coverage maps. It really doesn’t matter that a very, very large percentage of the U.S. population is covered by both services. What does matter is that the visual suggests more are covered by Verizon and a voice-over suggests AT&T may leave customers without access.
While the voice-over is what AT&T is mostly complaining about (AT&T says customers will still be covered but maybe not by 3G in mostly remote areas), what makes this an interesting story are the maps. More than likely this ad campaign would not be much of a problem if the comparison was limited to just words in a print ad. Instead, this is a case where the visual (i.e., maps) probably caught AT&T’s attention as well as the attention of millions of television viewers. And AT&T is crying foul.
AT&T filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia and is asking for a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction to stop the ads. The company requests an immediate hearing and said AT&T has “suffered and continues to suffer irreparable harm” as a result of the commercials.
Do the colors used to represent each company’s coverage – red for Verizon and blue for AT&T – also suggest something to viewers?