Karma always catches up…even in the ad biz

4 11 2009

AT&T Wireless (the network provider for the iPhone) is suing Verizon Wireless over its “There’s a map for that” campaign, which compares the density of Verizon’s 3G network on the US map compared to that of AT&T’s (which is much sparser).  AT&T claims the spot is causing the No. 2 wireless carrier to lose “incalculable market share” and “invaluable goodwill.”  Verizon’s ad has gotten many good reviews from consumers who appreciate the humor of making fun at the iPhone’s “There’s an app for that” campaign.

There's a map for that

There's a map for that

AT&T is not actually disputing the comparison of their 3G coverage, but they are insisting that Verizon is painting a misleading picture that AT&T offers no coverage at all in the white space on the map, when it’s suppose to indicate where they don’t provide 3G.

This loss of market share comes very unsettling for AT&T and Apple as the holiday season quickly approaches.  According to AdAge.com, this will be the first holiday season since the iPhone released when it’s not the only viable option for a trendy smartphone.  Perhaps the biggest challenger is the new “Droid” by Motorolla, which not only runs off a Google operating system (one of Apple’s biggest competitors), but the network is provided by none other than Verizon.  At this moment, if you are a self-titled “Mac” (the cultish name Apple lovers give themselves) you might start feeling bad for their current woes.

However, I argue that Apple did this to themselves.  Although it is AT&T who is losing market share, it is at the hand iPhone sales and Apple is anything but an innocent party.  How long have we been watching the played-out Mac vs. PC ads that depict PC users as nerdy, awkward and accident proned?

It’s my opinion this is a direct effect of karma.  Karma is defined as “the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person’s deeds in the previous incarnation”.  All of those ads making fun of innocent Bill Gates and his sometimes malfunctioning personal computers has finally caught up to them.  Apple has laughed all the way to the bank and a growing market share over the last few years off the backs of these ads.  But now, when someone does it to them, they throw a fit and sue (The American Way).

I think this instance should set an example to the rest of the advertising world.  It’s like my mother always told me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”.  It will catch up to you in the end…it’s the rule of the Universe.  Maybe TBWA/Chiat Day (Apple’s Ad Agency) and the people at Apple will now think twice before slinging mud since now they know it’s not too fun to get it in your eyes.

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