AT&T Responds to Verizon With Luke Wilson Ad

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After suffering a major setback in its legal battle against Verizon, AT&T is mounting a new attack against its rival. And this time the company is leaving the courtroom behind and turning to actor Luke Wilson.

AT&T suffered a first round defeat Wednesday in its lawsuit against Verizon. AT&T sued its chief competitor earlier this month and sought a restraining order against Verizon to force the company to stop running its 3G map ads. But a judge denied AT&T's request and stated that while Verizon's ad campaign might be a clever and a little tricky, the overall claims were true, which is what Verizon had been saying all along, too.

The judge apparently agreed. So AT&T decided to rebound by running new prime time TV spots featuring its own side-by-side comparison with Verizon. The ad, featuring Wilson in what looks like a deserted office building, claims that AT&T has the fastest 3G network. The ad also points out that AT&T's service allows you to surf the Web and talk on the phone at the same time. The next item on the board is "most popular smartphones," which goes to AT&T, although credit for that one should obviously go to the mobile device manufacturers. Then the next item touts "access to over a 100,000 apps," which again goes in AT&T's favor.

And the last item? Well, that is a "name that starts with the letter V," which of course Wilson awards to Verizon. Overall, the ad lacks the punch and sly humor of Verizon's comparison campaign. Verizon's ads work because they riff on Apple's familiar and somewhat annoying, "There's An App For That" campaign, which promotes the thousands upon thousands of popular, yet niche-focused and even frivolous applications for the iPhone. And better yet, Verizon's ads have clearly struck a nerve with AT&T -- and perhaps consumers as well. AT&T's lawsuit and Verizon's subsequent first round victory in court have only given more weight and publicity to the ads.

The two wireless carriers return to court next month for round 2 of the legal battle.

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