Why can’t we be friends?

03/09/2010 at 3:40 PM Leave a comment

The first thing I think about when I hear the word “business” is competition.

It’s the spice of life; competition makes sports worth watching, games worth playing and friendly wagers (like slap bets) a lot more fun. Competition also fuels innovation. In the ‘60s, the U.S. beat the Soviets in the Space Race; look where that got us— modern technology can find its roots during that period of tense competition between two global superpowers.

In marketing, we strive to make our clients and their brands shine above everyone else—on a daily basis they are competing with the nearly 3,000 messages we are exposed to consciously and subconsciously.

Some agencies take the long route and create unique campaigns that can really set a brand apart. On the other hand, agencies can take a shorter route and create a campaign that compares and attacks their client’s competitors.

If you haven’t thought about the Verizon/AT&T advertising throw down yet, that’s what I’m going to talk about—I know I can’t be the only one tired of seeing Luke Wilson flush his career down the drain, or those lovely blue and red maps.

I have always been innately competitive, but there is something about the Verizon/AT&T ads that make the fight seem like two siblings bickering at each other. Having an older brother, I know how long, and eventually pointless, arguments can become.

Ironically, both of these companies used to be under the same umbrella, before the United States government split up the Bell telephone monopoly—so they actually were siblings.

After all of these attack ads, I can’t even remember who started the 3G wars anyways. Was it AT&T or Verizon? At this point I don’t care. I’m just begging for a new marketing strategy, for these phone companies.

AT&T and Verizon’s feud is just one of the many examples of sketchy comparative advertising. Last year Apple and Microsoft had a lovely little rivalry with the “I’m a Mac” and “PC Hunters” campaigns, but today the phone service war is at the forefront.

On the other hand, Sprint is actually doing a great job of setting its own brand apart with their 4G campaign. Their point of view is unique, because they offer the nation’s only 4G network—I don’t necessarily know what that means, but I don’t see Luke Wilson or coverage maps, so I’m happy.

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Entry filed under: Television. Tags: , , .

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