Not one to shy away from a little “friendly” competition, Verizon is at it again. Instead of its foe-du jour, (Comcast, around these parts) this time the telecommunications giant is taking on Apple and theiPhone. Recent commercials for Verizon mobile phones feature a play on Apple’s “There’s an app for that” tag line. Boasting a far greater coverage network than AT&T – the exclusive cellular provider for iPhone – Verizon heralds, “There’s a map for that,” to show the coverage disparity.
It seems Apple is the punching-bag-of-choice these days. The popularity of the revolutionary iPhone has prompted attacks from the likes of Verizon and BlackBerry, while long-time rival Microsoft launched its “I’m a PC” campaign in direct response to Apple’s Mac computer ads featuring actors Justin Long and John Hodgman. Microsoft’s newest marketing campaigns may be focusing on the launch of its Windows 7 operating system, but they still manage to allude to its self-proclaimed superiority to Macs.
Image Credit: PC World
Taking the opportunity to go on the offensive again, Apple is set to launch attack ads attempting to lure PCers to the Mac by shining a light on Windows’ susceptibility to viruses and complicated interface. If consumers are looking to upgrade old computers, this is as good a time as any for Apple to try to winsome converts. But why the decision to use such contentious marketing messages?
The London Times blames it on the American economy. According to a Times interview, “In tough times, marketers know that people become more rational in their decision-making, so they're somewhat more susceptible to being told straight out: ‘This product is better than the other one.'” Be careful what you say in the heat of battle, however; incense your competitor enough and you could end up with a lawsuit. Gatorade didn’t take kindly to advertising claims from Powerade and ended up going to court and involving the FDA over the matter. Subway even sent Domino’s a cease-and-desist letter (the pizza chain subsequently lighted it on fire in its next commercial).
Although it’s unlikely Apple will sue or be sued, the battle for computing and mobile supremacy rages on as consumers hold tight to their wallets. Who will be the next to take on the world’s most admired company?