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In the latest ad battle between telecommunications companies T-Mobile and Verizon, T-Mobile has started throwing punches. While Verizon is spending millions on a campaign to lure subscribers using a #neversettle marketing program, T-Mobile is fighting back, nearly mimicking their campaign with a #nenversettleforverizon campaign. The campaign, which includes the purchase of the hashtag as a Promoted Trend on Twitter, bashes Verizon’s limitations – including data restrictions, 2-year service contracts, and costly overages. 

While it may be attention getting, I think T-Mobile’s approach is distasteful and uninspiring. The best part about advertising is the ability to develop new, clever messaging and imagery that makes consumers want to be part of a brand; nothing about these ads, which literally just copy Verizon’s concept with an obnoxious twist, makes me want to be a part of T-Mobile. On the other hand, if you look at Verizon’s #neversettle Apartment and Empty Seat ads, they don’t take the easy way out belittling their competitor. Rather, Verizon created a funny campaign that simply touts their service.

Badmouthing competitors creates a negative marketplace. It can give bad initial reactions and tarnish a brand’s reputation. In some cases, it can even force people to remember the competition instead of the intended brand, product or service. Negative campaigns can also insult customers, implying a lack of intelligence for selecting the competitor in the first place.

Good brands let their own merits do the talking. In this day and age, people are motivated to educate themselves when they are looking for a product or service. Don’t tell me why another product is bad; tell me why your product is better.

Did T-Mobile’s campaign work? In a recent article by Adweek, it would seem their campaign actually backfired, with Verizon advocates using the hashtag to mock T-Mobile, rather than promote it. Yet another risk of trying to burn a competitor… #reverseburn

~ Tiffany LaSpina, Sr. Account Executive, The S3 Agency


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