Verizon v. ATT — Is that the new cola war? And what does it mean to consumers they’re trying to reach?


Verizon and ATT have declared war — against each other.

Not only do the ads from each company take shots at each other’s claims — taking a tone almost from political ads — but they’re also suing and counter-suing other other, too.

In the ’80s, Coke and Pepsi fought the Cola Wars, with each company spending tons of advertising money. Coke won, but at least until recently, Pepsi was doing better, if only because it has a diversified portfolio of products beyond Pepsi Cola.

I generally think voters lose out when politicians wage attack ads, and I tend to think the same, here, for consumers.

The money’s going into ads, not into services or lower fees or anything else that really helps consumers. Instead, while making claims and counter-claims, Verizon and ATT are trying to attract customers basically on the message that “We’re not them,” with the underlying message of “help us beat the competition.”

But as Guy Kawasaki says, consumers generally don’t buy a product or service to help a company beat its competition. (The exception may be in so-called religious wars such as the fanatics on both sides of Windows v. Macs.)

I’m looking at getting a new phone. And as a Verizon customer, I’m actually considering a move to ATT since it has the iPhone. None of the recent ads from either company is giving me a reason to stay or swith.

Which means that Verizon and ATT are both losing the carrier wars, as far as I’m concerned. At least the Verizon v. Comcast ads, in the cable wars, are funnier, less negative.

What if they took a portion of their advertising budgets and spent it actually improving the stuff that consumers don’t like? That may be a heretical concept from someone in PR, but I don’t think so.

In an age in which consumer egagement is important, the Carrier Wars are fighting a battle consumers don’t care about.

Tagged: , , , , ,

Related Posts