Bashing the Competition: Marketing Strategy, or Major Mistake?
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In more genteel days, firms used to say that their products or services were better than "brand X." Now nobody is shy about naming names, as the Mac vs. PC and today's Verizon vs. AT&T ads make abundantly clear. The big companies do it. Should you?
If you've watched any TV or listened to the radio lately, it's likely you've heard commercials for Verizon Wireless. This major mobile carrier earned $49.3 billion USD in revenue in 2008 (Verizon Factsheet, 2009) and has more than 89 million customers, more than any other wireless company currently in operation.
Verizon boasts that it has the most reliable 3-G broadband network, claiming to cover 284 million individuals. But Verizon, by far, isn't the only wireless company out there...and maybe that's why they've started directly attacking competitor AT&T.
Is bashing the competition a viable marketing strategy for success, or a major no-no in the world of advertising? Is it a method that could work for you...or a tactic you should studiously avoid?
Verizon vs. AT&T
Everyone has seen the ads by now. In the campaign Verizon is using against AT&T to promote their services, the company shows two side-by-side maps. One shows the coverage offered by Verizon's 3G network; the other, AT&T's. The campaign largely revolves around Verizon's Droid phone.
To defend against the comparison advertising, AT&T filed a lawsuit against Verizon Wireless, which they lost. AT&T concedes that the maps are an accurate depiction of 3G coverage, but claims they're misleading in that customers might think Verizon has broader wireless coverage overall, including 2.5G networks along with 3G. According to the results of the suit, however, Verizon Wireless has every single right to run the ads, legally.
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