Thursday, September 13, 2007

AT&T. Same shit, different logo?

Given that Telcos are just about the biggest marketing spenders in the US, it's hard if you're interested in advertising not to keep a watchful eye on them. Well, yesterday Ad Age reported that BBDO has launched a new campaign for AT&T (or should I type at&t?) that speaks not about fewest dropped calls but instead coverage in "far-flung places."

I admire much of the work BBDO produces. But the print featured in the article in which place names are combined to, I guess, humorous effect was such a total rip-off of a campaign for a tech company called Riverbed that I am completely appalled. The TV features similar "mash-up" situations but I suppose people will now flock to AT&T because Wes Anderson directed the spots.

I'm not buying any of this. Or bills that are now colored orange for "branding" or renovated stores. Until wireless carriers address their shoddy service, lousy coverage, inflated claims and intentionally confusing offers, people will hate them--and the Telcos will need to continue the heinous and un-free-market practice of penalizing people for leaving them. That's not brand-loyalty, by the way, it's brand black-mail.

If you operate on the assumption that people like brands for the same reason they like particular people, this ain't doing it for me. I've yet to choose a friend based on the color of the clothes she wears or based on the deceptions she propagates. If AT&T wants to be a brand people like, it's about behavior and performance, not crapvertising and cosmetic "branding."

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