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T-Mobile’s new ad attacks AT&T using an online article

T-Mobile calls AT&T’s new upgrade program “sneaky,” “underhanded,” and “calculating,” and lifts words straight from the copy of a recent Verge article. 

Here’s something you can do if you want to bash your competitor over the head and you don’t have a lot of time to come up with a big campaign. You can use stuff straight out of an online article.

In a new print ad running today in USA Today, T-Mobile slams AT&T’s upgrade program, spring-boarding off a quote from an article by Nilay Patel in The Verge, and then calling it “sneaky,” “underhanded,” and “calculating.” 


And the timing goes for the jugular too, the ad comes out the same day AT&T is expected to release its quarterly earnings. 

T-Mobile (along with The Verge) is contending that AT&T’s “Next” phone upgrade plan rips customers off. Here’s how Patel explains it in the article. 

AT&T unveiled its new Next plan today, which allows you to pay a small monthly fee for the privilege of upgrading your phone every year without a down payment. It’s an obvious response to T-Mobile’s Jump plan, which costs $10 a month and allows for an upgrade every six months. Both plans sound like a great idea: you’ll get a new phone much faster than before, without having to pay full price up front or resigning your contract every time.

The big differences with AT&T’s Next plan are that it costs anywhere from $15 to $50 a month depending on which phone you buy, and also that it’s an absolutely clear ripoff designed to cheat customers into paying full price for their phone without actually buying anything.

The dirty fighting should come as no surprise when you take a look at how much telecom companies spend on their advertising, with both AT&T and T-Mobile ranking in the top ten list of ad spenders in the country.

T-Mobile’s move is a quick, responsive and ultimately efficient mix of paid and earned media, an example of the agile, “trading desk” style advertising campaigns we see becoming the norm in the future. For more on that topic, check out the report and video from our recent conference on social commerce.


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