Friday, December 18, 2009

View From the Phlipside - Verizon vs. AT&T

These are the scripts from my weekly media commentary program on WRFA-LP Jamestown

My name is Jay Phillippi and I've spent my life in and around the media. TV, Radio, the movies and more. I love 'em and I hate em' and I always have an opinion. Call this the view from the Phlipside

I've been ignoring the great Verizon/AT&T battle over the last couple months. Quite simply it all seemed pretty dull to me as the two cell phone giants battled back and forth over their current ad campaigns. Even when they took the battle into the courts trying to get a judge to order the other guy to stop it didn't raise much interest for me. But now that the court case has been settled (basically both sides agreed to go away and stop bothering the judge with this nonsense) I've taken another look. There is I think a rather important lesson to be learned by looking at what they've been fighting about.

The ad campaigns I'm referring to are what are called the "map ads". Verizon shows you two maps that illustrate how great their coverage is and how rotten AT&T's is. AT&T comes back to show you just how wrong those nasty V people are and tout all the wonderful reasons to sign up with them. There are two important things to note about this. First is what's actually being said and second is what the two companies apparently think about you and me.

Pay attention the next time you see the ads and you'll realize they're actually about two completely different things. Verizon is talking about the higher speed 3G network coverage, where to be honest they have a decided edge. But they want you to believe that it describes the entire coverage package. So it appears that you can't use your AT&T phone most places. AT&T is talking about all kinds of coverage which gives them a map that's about the same as Verizon's. They then talk about how much faster their 3G network is without mentioning that you can't always get it. Like here in Jamestown.

So what does this tell us about the companies attitude toward you and me? Simple, the fact that they went to court to get the ads pulled tells me that they think we're pretty stupid. Or at least that we don't pay much attention to what's actually being said. On that second point they are probably right. Of course that's the whole point of both campaigns so yeah they probably think we're pretty stupid too. The worst part is we probably deserve it. We DON'T pay attention, we LET advertisers get away with half truths and misleading claims and we STILL make decisions based on the incomplete information.

So the next time you listen to, watch or read an advertisement, pay attention to what's actually being said. And don't make a decision till you get all the information. That way the advertiser will learn to concentrate of the quality of their product rather than the obscureness of their advertising.

Call that the view from the Phlipside


PseudoPiskie said...

I don't like either because neither is reliable here. Nobody else serves us tho. I don't like ATT. I don't seem to have as many dropped calls as I did with Verizon but I don't think the service is any better. Where one is missing the other is also. I'd love to have better 3G coverage but I have no choice of provider. I wish Apple would put more pressure on ATT.

Julia said...

The AT&T vs. Verizon topic has been a recent topic in our household since we've sinfully lusted/coveted our friend's iPhones.

We've seen the issues they've had with fast network issues, read online the issues AT&T is having in notso rural places like NYC, and have decided that we'll probably stick with Verizon for now. Plus, there's a chance that Apple jump to Verizon once their contract with AT&T is up in the next year or so.

There's also a new line of smart phones that have the Google OS on them (Android) that Verizon and other networks carry. I could go on forever, so I'll leave it there for now.