Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the communications experts at AT&T have released a texting primer to answer our most perplexing SMS questions: Should we respond to texts immediately, or hours later? “Textpert” Nicole Beland has the answer. Is breaking up by text appropriate? AT&T knows. Armed with this “D8ing Textiquette” and stunning figures from AT&T’s Valentine’s Day Texting Survey (33% of texters surveyed plan to send at least one Valentine’s text!), aspiring texters everywhere can now confidently use this “new language of love.” Additional information and more fantextic puns available in their texting media kit.
Many disruptive brands struggle with how to best manage their marketing budgets while they strategize around how to dethrone their incumbent Goliaths.
Google has just announced via a blog post that it will be offering free, faster Wi-Fi hotspots at all U.S. company-operated Starbucks locations, which will get up and running sometime within the next 18 months.
The Most-Advertised Brands By 2012 U.S. Measured-Media Spending
In this "postdigital" era, brands must confront “a new normal and a new basis of competition, with digitalization at its core,” says Mark White, Deloitte principal and CTO. Forward-thinking organizations have to figure out how to bake in the digital forces of mobile, analytics, social and the cloud, he adds.
As part of its sponsorship of Team USA for the Olympic Games, AT&T is launching a campaign to bring several of these stories to life via short films and its social networking channels. The effort, called “My Journey,” will feature 30-second teasers during the primetime broadcasts of the London Olympic Games, but the extended stories will live online.
Intense competition drives the U.S. wireless industry. When one looks at major market indicators, competition is the reason why we lead the world in efficiency and value for consumers. These indicators include capital expenditures and network investments; infrastructure deployments; subscriber levels; subscriber growth; continued evolution of operating system choices; and application development.
Brands are valuable, everyone agrees. But it's hard to say just how valuable because of all the intangibles. Davis Brand Capital, an Atlanta firm that analyzes intangible assets for global clients, just published its list of the top 25 companies with the most brand capital in 2011. Irving-based Exxon Mobil ranked 17th and Dallas-based AT&T ranked 22nd.
Customers, employees, shareholders and taxpayers hate large corporations for many reasons. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a lengthy list of corporations for which there is substantial research data to choose the 10 most hated in America.
Cloud technology isn’t hype anymore: Businesses are moving computing work to the cloud. And with trillions of tech dollars at stake, it’s war up there. Here are the tech companies battling for their piece of the market.
According to a survey of almost 60,000 people — more than half of them iPhone owners — AT&T was rated the worst wireless service provider in the United States.
Hundreds of naming rights are up for sale nationwide at schools, parks, government buildings and boat launches, as money problems among cities and states create monuments such as Chicago's BP Bridge and AT&T Plaza.
Now this is an odd – if telling – move. All Wi-Fi-only iPads will appear at Verizon stores on the same day they are set to appear at AT&T stores. The trick? Verizon is selling the iPad and a MiFi 2200 mobile hotspot for the same price as the iPad 3G, a move which points to closer cooperation between big red and Cupertino.
In an emerging battle over regulating Internet access, companies are taking sides. Facebook, one of the companies that has flourished on the open Internet, indicated Wednesday that it did not support a proposal by Google and Verizon that critics say could let providers of Internet access chip away at that openness. Meanwhile an executive of AT&T, one of the companies that stands to profit from looser regulations, called the proposal a “reasonable framework.” Most media companies have stayed mute on the subject, but in an interview this week, the media mogul Barry Diller called the proposal a sham. And outside of technology circles, most people have not yet figured out what is at stake. The debate revolves around net neutrality, which in the broadest sense holds that Internet users should have equal access to all types of information online, and that companies offering Internet service should not be able to give priority to some sources or types of content.
Phenomenal phones are flooding the market. In the past few weeks the new iPhone 4, the HTC 4G EVO, Droid X and HTC HD2 debuted, all phones with fast processors and big screens. But these new phones come at a cost – a recurring monthly charge. So before you sign a contract for two years of payments, which phone is really the bargain?
When I started out in advertising almost 20 years ago, the firm I worked at had a simple mantra. Promise a lot. Deliver more. And we did. It was our "ad" you might say and the founder of the firm believed that every day we had to live up to that ad. If we didn't, then over time we'd fail and eventually that failure would cause us to lose many a client. I've never forgotten that lesson but alas I'm reminded every day that companies around our fine country have.
AT&T’s exclusive deal with Apple for the iPhone in the U.S. has proven to be something of a mixed blessing. It has delivered new customers and lined its corporate coffers, but it has simultaneously strained the very fiber of the AT&T network. Faced with new but unhappy customers and a flailing brand image, AT&T is turning to social media for a quick fix. In keeping with its "Rethink Possible" campaign, it's taking its customer care service to the social Web.
If you were wondering why both Apple and AT&T melted down when taking orders for the iPhone 4 on Tuesday, we have the answer. Apple sold 600,000 of the things. According to Apple’s press release, “It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions.”
NBC Universal's new Dial Star, a 10-episode Web series sponsored by AT&T, is the latest proof of the media giant's growing commitment to branded entertainment. It also follows on rival moves, such as Orbit’s new DumbDumb campaign from former NBCU entertainment head Ben Silverman and actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. Starring Annalynne McCord (above, of 90210 and Nip/Tuck fame), Dial Star aims to build an online following and viral buzz with its mix of Hollywood glitz and glamour, deception and identity theft.
AT&T Inc.'s website, unable to handle the demand for Apple Inc.'s new iPhone on Tuesday, had difficulty processing orders and in certain instances appeared to reveal subscribers' personal information to strangers. Although the scope of the problem and its underlying cause couldn't immediately be learned, some AT&T customers, who were logged into AT&T's website as themselves ended up in other users' accounts.
AT&T is bulking up its Android roster with a new phone: the HTC Aria. It promises to be faster and more capable than the Motorola BACKFLIP and the Dell Aero. Aria comes with a 5 megapixel camera, a 3.2 inch display, a 600MHz Qualcomm MSM 7227 processor, the Android 2.1 Os, and the HTC Sense interface. It will be released on June 20, just five days before AT&T release another competing smartphone: the iPhone 4.
CEO Steve Jobs also unveiled some new metrics. Among them: Apple expects to control 48% of the mobile display ad market in the second half of 2010; it already has $60 million in commitments for its mobile iAd format; and it has paid out more than $1 billion in revenue to app developers. Here are some takeaways from Mr. Jobs' presentation at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference today.
For the last two years, unlimited data plans have given app-hungry smartphone users an all-you-can-eat buffet. But will customers react to AT&T’s new, limited menu by simply eating less? Some software developers fear they will, and if that happens, the caps on data use that AT&T has imposed could also make consumers lose their appetite for the latest innovations.
AT&T Inc.’s decision to scrap unlimited data plans for new customers has prompted a backlash from bloggers and consumers like Danette Collins. “As soon as I can get out of the AT&T plan, I’ll switch to Verizon,” said Collins, a finance and operations manager in Portland, Oregon, who has AT&T service for her iPhone. “They’ve just shot themselves in the foot.”
If you e-mail Apple’s CEO, there’s a chance you’ll get a personal reply from Steve Jobs himself. But what happens if you write AT&T’s CEO? One inquiring customer received a legal threat. “I want to first thank you for the feedback,” said a member of AT&T’s executive response team, in a voicemail recording posted on the recipient’s blog. “Going forward I want to warn you that if you continue sending e-mails to Randall Stephenson a cease-and-desist letter will be sent to you.”
In a significant shift in how phone carriers bill customers, AT&T Inc. will stop selling unlimited Internet data plans to new customers that buy smartphones and iPads, and will instead begin charging more for heavy bandwidth users. New AT&T customers will have to chose between two data plans with monthly usage limits—and pay additional fees for extra use. Existing customers, however, can stick with their current plans, AT&T said.
Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs, in a broad-ranging discussion, took more potshots at Adobe Systems Inc.'s Flash software, vowed not to get into search despite Google Inc.'s move into Apple's turf, and called Apple passing Microsoft Corp.'s stock valuation "surreal."
The upfront market, the annual mating dance in which ad buyers and major broadcast networks haggle over ad time for the new TV season, is heating up, and could be sold out in a matter of weeks, ad buyers and marketers say. It's a major reversal from last year when talks dragged on through much of the summer in a harsh economic climate.
At the airline industry struggles to remain in the air, many carriers have begun charging for services that used to be included in the price of the ticket. Everything from checked baggage to meals and entertainment have become added fees for passengers on all types of flights. And while this is quickly becoming an accepted way of doing business, albeit an unpopular one, Horizon Air, operated by Alaska Airlines, is trying a different approach.
Apple has granted AT&T an extension of its iPhone exclusivity agreement in a "Faustian" bargain that sees AT&T providing "low-cost and truly unlimited data plans for the iPad." But the extension is only for six months, and then the service goes up for grabs again, much to the delight of Verizon, whose grab for the iPad was purportedly rejected. If it's in the stars, Verizon could be getting access to the iPhone in 2011.
In a move that will stoke a battle over the future of the Internet, the federal government plans to propose regulating broadband lines under decades-old rules designed for traditional phone networks. The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates.
CenturyTel Inc. agreed Thursday to buy Qwest Comunications International Inc. in an all-stock deal valuing Qwest at about $10.6 billion—one of the biggest U.S. telecommunications deals in years. The merger will unite two of the country's largest landline phone companies, with operations in some 40 states across the country. It also represents a long-awaited consolidation play for Qwest, a remnant of the regional "Baby Bell" companies that has struggled to stay competitive with the national ascendancy of the wireless operations of AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
AT&T added fewer contract customers during the first quarter, a sign that competition is heating up for new subscribers in the crowded wireless market. The trend also calls into question where AT&T and other wireless subscribers will find growth in the future. The company, which released the information as part of its first-quarter earnings report on Wednesday, also took a significant hit to due to health care reform.
Ah, the cloud — these days, Silicon Valley can’t seem to get its head out of it. The idea, though typically expressed in ways larded with jargon, is actually rather simple. Cloud providers, large ones like Amazon, Microsoft, Google and AT&T, and smaller ones like Rackspace and Terremark, aim to convince other companies to give up building and managing their own data centers and to use their computer capacity instead.
I usually try to keep my critiques to categories I’ve worked in, primarily because I think it’s irresponsible for me to comment on what works and what doesn’t when I have little basis for my assessment other than being a consumer. So I initially demurred when some folks have asked for my POV on AT&T’s new campaign, Rethink Possible. But then I started wondering whether my expertise in other categories might actually shed some light on the issue — that’s when I realized that there are some instructive parallels between AT&T and fast food chains. And while AT&T has adopted some of what drives fast feeders’ success, there are a couple of important lessons it might want to learn.
It looks as if a truce has been called in the wireless wars. After months of putting much of its $1.87 billion media budget behind ads featuring Luke Wilson to beat back Verizon Wireless, AT&T is taking the high road with a new campaign themed "Rethink Possible." And after funding its "There's a map for that" ads that tear down AT&T's coverage with a big chunk of its $2.16 billion media budget, Verizon is expected to also relinquish its weapon.
It was such a long time ago when AT&T ditched its original Saul Bass logo that the discussion about it happened not on Brand New, but on Speak Up. In 2005. One year before the launch of Brand New and, also of importance, nearly two years before the iPhone launch. All this to say: Has it really been that long? But also: Didn’t this happen, like, yesterday? Either way, a lot has changed for AT&T, having risen as the heaven where the iPhone lives to also being the hell where the iPhone dies in the clogged lines of its 3G network with all of its hope placed in the hands of Luke Wilson. No more. Yesterday, AT&T launched a new brand campaign that introduces the theme of “Rethink Possible” and tries to do what few other companies — like Nike, Target and Apple — can, drop the name from the logo.
AT&T is undertaking an ambitious rebranding effort under the banner "Rethink Possible" that includes a redesign that updates its trademark logo. The new theme attempts to position AT&T as a lifestyle company and elevate it from the recent ad sniping with rival Verizon. "Rethink Possible" will inform all advertising from the country's fourth-largest spender going forward.
Apple is set to drop AT&T as the exclusive carrier of its high-selling iPhone and introduce a new version of the handset for Verizon, which would ship next fall, according to the Wall Street Journal, ending the three-year lock AT&T has had on the iPhone in the U.S. (abroad, the iPhone is usually available on multiple carriers). So what will it mean if the iPhone is added to the nation's largest mobile network -- and one of its biggest advertisers? Expect a ripple effect for other handset makers, the app economy and mobile advertising that plays out something like this.
Apple Inc. plans to begin producing this year a new iPhone that could allow U.S. phone carriers other than AT&T Inc. to sell the iconic gadget, said people briefed by the company. The new iPhone would work on a type of wireless network called CDMA, these people said. CDMA is used by Verizon Wireless, AT&T's main competitor, as well as Sprint Nextel Corp. and a handful of cellular operators in countries including South Korea and Japan. The vast majority of carriers world-wide, including AT&T, use another technology called GSM.
Sorry to harsh your waterslide buzz, but here are some spare, sobering AT&T PSAs about texting and driving. As that infamous Welsh campaign taught us, texting on the road can have gory consequences. These ads take a more subtle and eerie route, showing actual text messages that were cut short—along with lives, in some cases—when the person crashed. Check out three more ads after the jump.
One of the classic taglines in marketing today is "Let your fingers do the walking," with the recognizable Yellow Pages 'walking fingers' logo. This is all changing in Canada as the Yellow Pages enter the digital age. There will be "More Yellow, Less Pages" and the new logo will not include an open book. The former Yellow Pages logo is pictured at right, as the new one is unavailable.
The seemingly continuous commercials during the coverage of the Winter Games on the networks of NBC Universal gave a new meaning to the term “snow job.” It was as if every spot showed snow, or ice, or both, in which skiers, skaters and snowboarders cavorted. That made it difficult for ad-weary, ad-bleary viewers to distinguish the commercials from the actual coverage of the Vancouver Olympics. Perhaps that was the sponsors’ fiendish intent: to perpetrate the ultimate blurring of the line between advertising and content.
Verizon Wireless, the largest U.S. wireless carrier, will include Skype Technologies SA’s Internet- calling software on phones to stave off competition from AT&T Inc., according to two people familiar with the matter. The service will let customers make Skype calls over the company’s 3G data network, said the people, who requested anonymity because the agreement hasn’t been announced. Verizon and Skype said yesterday that they will hold a joint press conference Feb. 16 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The companies gave no further details.
Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday was part of the frenetic stretch, which continues this weekend with the Winter Games and other sports programming, like the National Basketball Association All-Star Game and the Daytona 500. The TV marketing blitz, which began with the coverage of the Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 17, is to run through the Academy Awards on March 7 and conclude with the finale of the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament on April 5. All those events have something in common other than high prices for commercial time: They are all broadcast live, part of a trend known as big-event television, which prizes programs that can attract large, involved audiences at a time when consumers have generally been atomized into tiny niche markets.
It used to be that a basic $25-a-month phone bill was your main telecommunications expense. But by 2004, the average American spent $770.95 annually on services like cable television, Internet connectivity and video games, according to data from the Census Bureau. By 2008, that number rose to $903, outstripping inflation. By the end of this year, it is expected to have grown to $997.07. Add another $1,000 or more for cellphone service and the average family is spending as much on entertainment over devices as they are on dining out or buying gasoline.
Johnny Mercer, in my opinion, was the best lyricist of the 20th century, but I'm sure those words on a piece of paper, even repeated millions of times, would not have made "Moon River" famous. It was the music that made the words "Moon River" famous. Advertising needs visuals in the same way that lyrics need music, if you want to drive your words into the minds of your prospects. Without a visual hammer, an advertising campaign is almost certain to fail.
Remember the Great Sling Spat? A year ago, Sling Media, a subsidiary of EchoStar, introduced a nifty application for the Apple iPhone that allowed users with a Slingbox at home to watch and control their home television signal from their handsets. The only problem: AT&T said that such a bandwidth-intensive video service would overwhelm its network, so it limited the application to work only over an iPhone’s Wi-Fi connection. TV lovers and techies worldwide cried out in anguish.
AT&T said Thursday that it will invest an additional $2 billion in its network in 2010 to make sure it keeps up with the growing demand from new smartphones and other 3G data devices, such as the Apple iPad, on its network. During its fourth quarter 2009 conference call, Chief Operating Officer John Stankey said AT&T plans to spend between $18 billion and $19 billion in 2010 upgrading its wireless and backhaul networks to handle the onslaught of new traffic. This is roughly $2 billion more than the company had invested in the previous year. Specifically, Stankey said AT&T will add 2,000 new cell sites and upgrade existing cell sites with three times more fiber links than it had in 2009. This will increase capacity for the backhaul network that connects the cell towers to AT&T's main network. The backhaul portion of the network is a critical component to AT&T's network. With these upgrades in place, Stankey said the company will be able to easily upgrade in the future to 4G wireless technology.
We have seen several epic marketing wars: The Cola War of Coke vs. Pepsi, The Beer War of Budweiser vs. Miller, The Mouthwash War of Listerine vs. Scope and The Battery War of Duracell vs. Energizer. But they all fail in comparison to the money and firepower currently being expended in the Cellphone War between AT&T and arch-rival Verizon Wireless. Last year AT&T and Verizon Wireless spent a combined $4 billion in advertising to blast consumers with 615,000 television commercials. Yet, despite the incredible sums spent and the enormous volume flooding the airways, most consumers are still confused.
As marketers scrambled to assemble donations and matching programs for relief in Haiti, Twitter users began scrambling their announcements. By this morning, the airwaves were so flooded with news about who was making a donation, and how to participate, that consumers became understandably confused -- and it spread.
Verizon Wireless introduced lower wireless-pricing plans Friday, a move that's likely to force rival AT&T Inc. to follow and could pressure margins on the carriers' high-end business. Verizon Communications, which jointly owns Verizon Wireless with Vodafone Group PLC, slashed pricing on some of its contract plans, dropping its nationwide unlimited voice plan to $69.99 a month from $99 and offering a nationwide unlimited voice-and-text plan for $89.99.
As we all rub our eyes from the social-media explosion of 2009, you might think that brand marketers have all (forgive the pun) gotten the message: Ignore Web chatter at your peril. Domino’s got it—publicly, infamously—back in April, when a gross-out vid popped up on YouTube showing employees placing various mucosal toppings on the pizzas. The company took a glacial 24 hours to respond—23 hours after the damage had already been done. And who can forget Dell’s own Road to Damascus back in 2005 when Jeff Jarvis’ “Dell Hell” blog undid millions in “Dude” advertising goodwill?
Verizon Wireless made clear from the start that its Droid smartphone was designed to put pressure on Apple, the maker of the iPhone, and AT&T (T), the exclusive U.S. iPhone carrier. As part of a $100 million marketing push, Verizon Wireless enumerates several ways it believes the Droid outperforms the iPhone. Yet analysts say the Droid and other devices that sport the Android operating system may also take a toll on Research In Motion, the maker of another smartphone, the BlackBerry. "It's clear there's been a lot of marketing at Verizon around the Droid, so that is going to hurt RIM," says Raymond James (RJF) analyst Steve Li.
McDonald's Corp. said Monday that it will soon offer free wireless Internet access at most of its U.S. fast-food restaurants as it tries to broaden its appeal still further. "We're not just about hamburgers," said Dave Grooms, chief information officer for McDonald's USA. "We are about convenience and all kinds of value." The company, the world's largest fast-food chain, has offered Internet access for about five years.
Accenture, the giant consulting firm, ended its six-year marketing relationship with Tiger Woods on Sunday, showing once again that in advertising as in sports, there are no sure things. Mr. Woods had been featured in Accenture campaigns with the tagline, “Go On. Be a Tiger,” splashed in business magazines and airport waiting rooms since 2003. Since most consumers have no idea what a company like Accenture does, Mr. Woods became the human face of the corporation and a means to extol the corporate virtues of performance and risk-taking.
iPhone owners may love Apple’s sexy mobile device, but they absolutely can’t stand AT&T. It ranks dead last in customer satisfaction for dropped calls and spotty 3G service, a sore spot that Verizon has been poking at with new ads. Now the U.S.’s second largest wireless provider is looking to turn things around, hopefully before it loses iPhone exclusivity rights. Its newest strategy is especially unique, though, because it comes in the form of an iPhone app called Mark the Spot [iTunes Link].
Even as his advertising offensive against arch-rival AT&T continues to be the talk of the industry, Verizon CMO John Stratton took to the podium to explain why the "Maps" campaign was necessary. In this seven-minute video, he recaps Verizon's entire nine-year marketing history. In its latest move, the company abruptly threw out its prepared holiday ad campaign to replace it with the results of a data survey it commissioned of its own and AT&T's national G3 footprints.
Telecom giant AT&T has partnered with NYC & Company, the official tourism and marketing organization for the city of New York, on a two-year advertising agreement. The deal provides AT&T with various platforms to promote itself and its Yellowpages.com and YPmobile brands to the market, while sponsoring some of NYC & Company's latest efforts to tout the city's attractions.
The ongoing dispute between Verizon Wireless and AT&T over advertised coverage area -- coupled with a new phone for Verizon-- looks to be a buzz benefit for both companies. According to YouGovPolimetrix's BrandIndex, which takes the measure of positive vs. negative talk about a certain brand, buzz for both companies has increased in the two weeks between Nov. 2 and Nov. 19. At the beginning of the period, AT&T's buzz was at about 7.7, while Verizon's was around 21.3. By the end of the time period, AT&T's had risen to 14, while Verizon's had risen to 32.3.
Through the decades, marketers have veered between “Think global, act local” and “Think local, act global.” At one point, someone even coined a portmanteau word, “glocal,” which sounded like a variety of the Glo-Coat brand of floor wax sold by S.C. Johnson. Now, the pendulum seems to be veering toward marketing that is focused locally. It is particularly true as new technologies like local search make it easier to concentrate on the grass roots in a hyperlocal way. An example of the trend is a campaign being introduced for the Christmas shopping season by NYC & Company, the city’s tourism organization.
More than a hundred people were lined up at midnight Thursday outside a Verizon Wireless store in midtown Manhattan to be among the first people to buy the new Motorola Droid. About 65 eager shoppers lined the south side of West 34th Street across from Macy's in Manhattan at 11:30 p.m. Thursday waiting for the store to open. Verizon opened the store from midnight to 2 a.m. to give people in the Big Apple a head start on the morning cell phone rush. By midnight, when the doors officially opened, about 100 people stood in line as Verizon officials ushered in customers 25 at a time.
For the third year in a row, Apple's iPhone will enter the holiday shopping season as the smartphone to beat. But this year, it actually has some respectable challengers. Perhaps the best rival will be the new Droid phone by Motorola for Verizon Wireless. Running the newest version of Google's Android operating system, Droid includes an improved web browser, free turn-by-turn navigation, a gorgeous screen, a slide-out keyboard and a super-fast processor.
Yes, there's a bit of a circus going on with real-time search, and a new player seems to appear weekly. Meanwhile, we get predictions of how Google and Bing had better do something soon with it -- or else. Let's try to rein it in a bit, starting with, just what is real-time search? You know what web search is -- do a search, get web pages. Image search? Search, get images. So real-time search gives you -- real times?
In the past few weeks, Verizon Wireless has fired a pair of loaded torpedoes at rival AT&T—and more notably Apple, a company often viewed as a sacred cow in both the marketing and technology spheres. Telecom experts say that such an Apple offensive is long overdue, though not without risk. Still, most observers doubt that Verizon’s attacking posture indicates that the company has given up on the ultimate prize—being able to offer Apple’s iPhone on its network once AT&T’s exclusive contract expires.
With Apple posting record profits last week, thanks in large part to brisk sales of its iPhone, it may seem downright crazy to mount a smartphone challenge at all, let alone one that takes direct aim at the iPhone. But that's just what Verizon, Google and Motorola are doing. With a teaser ad from Verizon zeroing in on the device's perceived shortcomings, such as its lack of a physical keyboard, the triumvirate is beginning a big push for Droid, the flagship device of the Google-backed Android operating system. So far, industry observers are unmoved by the buzz and give the Droid long odds in its bid to become the next ubiquitous handset.
Whatever rumors were brewing a few months ago that Apple would break its exclusivity with AT&T and take its iPhone to other carriers, it's a good bet they can be put to bed for now. Less than two weeks after Verizon Wireless aired a TV commercial that takes aim at AT&T's network service, it's now going straight for the iPhone. The teaser campaign, which plugs the new Android device and debuted Saturday night during the playoff game between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels, is, however, causing some head-scratching.
For AT&T, the small-business owner is so key a customer the company needed more than regular marketing tactics to reach it. Its solution? Original content. To create it, AT&T turned to an outside firm called Associated Content -- a startup with a network of 300,000 freelance content creators -- to produce over 100 how-to articles. Topics range from setting up a wireless network and building a marketing strategy to writing a business plan. The material will appears on the AT&T Small Business InSite destination. "The ability to distribute content offers us a credible way to connect with small business owners," said Chris Schembri, vp of media services for AT&T. "We're able to provide valuable information that comes from a third party that will be a little more believable" than brand-created content.
AT&T knows its iPhone-burdened network has become a public relations mess, with a number of major news outlets recently recounting how heavy iPhone use has resulted in spotty service. But the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier's latest effort -- meant to address its network and explain why it took so long to turn on a long-awaited multimedia message service for Apple's iPhone -- isn't helping.
"We're sorry." That's what you say when a large number of your customers are upset with you. AT&T customers have been complaining for months about dropped calls, spotty service, delayed text and voice messages and slow download speeds for the iPhone. So, AT&T released this video on YouTube.
The Federal Communications Commission late on Friday entered the fray over consumer calling choice on mobile phones, sending letters inquiring into Apple’s recent decision to reject Google Voice applications on its iPhone. The FCC’s letter asked Apple to detail any influence AT&T, the iPhone’s exclusive US carrier, may have had in its decision. Google’s applications would have allowed users to make less expensive international calls.
Although the world of business development partnerships can be complex, rife with epic contracts with tie-ins and promises, expirations and penalties for all parties, when relationships are struck that reduce customer choice, it is a telltale sign that the product or service being provided is well below acceptable standards. You see, customers aren’t stupid. They will be your product and company’s loudest advocates, more than willing to spread the word on your behalf, if you have a game-changing offering. But if you have to rely on bundling and exclusive contracts just to rope customers in, you probably don’t have something they want all that much anyway.
A growing chorus claims that Apple’s questionable approval policy for its iPhone application store raises issues with net neutrality. Free Press, a group that advocates the idea of an open internet — that is, one in which consumers have the right to browse the web and run internet applications without restrictions — is the latest of several organizations to call out Apple for its inconsistencies.
If you think Google, Microsoft and Apple are bad-ass, cutthroat, take-no-prisoner companies, you should meet the nation’s wireless carriers, who have collectively convinced those intensively competitive software giants to cripple their products. Need any more proof that the nation’s four largest wireless carriers - AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile - have too much control over the airwaves, what phones you can use and what applications you can run on them?
Amid all the talk about what the iPhone has done for AT&T, Verizon is also delivering -- without a killer handset.
AT&T is addressing the economic gloom head on with a campaign that references the current hard times, but notes that the country has emerged from stronger from similar trials in the past.
Slowly but surely signs are emerging of a long-awaited creative infusion into the woebegone banner ad. Technology constraints are lifting, more top agencies are focusing their creative energies on building display ads and publishers are giving advertisers a larger canvas.
AT&T wants to give aspiring musicians a chance to realize their dreams. With help from Microsoft, the telecom carrier has launched the Lips Open Mic Contest, named after the Xbox game, Lips. The grand prize winner's song will be turned into a free downloadable karaoke tune for the Xbox 360 game and an original score for the Zune MP3 player.
There are ads that live and ads that die. Some ads get more interesting in rotation. Other ads get old and die before our eyes. Before long, these ads are an agony. Without the blessing of TIVO, we're obliged to watch them like someone out of Clockwork Orange.
You might recognize Sprint CEO Dan Hesse from those black and white commercials. When I met with him last week at a hotel bar in Oakland, Calif., two women at the next table certainly did. They treated him like a celebrity. I wouldn't go that far, but he does appear to have a good handle on the mobile industry and what Sprint--the No. 3 cell phone service provider behind AT&T and Verizon--needs to do. It's too early to know for sure, but it seems as if Hesse could be Sprint's come back kid.
The retailer is selling the phone, but not at the steep discount previously reported. Instead, it's AT&T that will be the low-priced leader, selling $99 handsets -- albeit refurbished and for a limited time.