T-Mobile may have made a deal to be acquired by AT&T, but that fact apparently isn't stopping its marketing department from continuing to stream ads on YouTube that mock its presumptive parent's network and signature smart phone.
More than 24 hours after the $39 billion deal was announced, you can still view a number of videos that unflatteringly contrast video-chat on AT&T's iPhone 4 with the same function on T-Mobile's My Touch 4G.
In one ad (embedded below), a young hipster guy loses his video connection with his mom—and his visual image in the ad breaks up—when he steps out of the Wi-Fi hotspot that the feature requires. A perky young woman then points out, correctly, that T-Mobile's MyTouch 4G allows video chat even on the company's network. "Not cool, AT&T," she proclaims.
In another ad, the woman brags that her friend just posted a concert video to Facebook from her MyTouch 4G. The young hipster, playing the part of the iPhone 4, concedes how fast that happened. Then a nerdy balding guy, in the role of AT&T, punctures the praise and—in an apparent reference to AT&T's mobile streaming-music service—begins singing the synth-rock song "The Final Countdown" while ridiculously pretending to play one of those keyboards that hang around your neck.
In another, "iPhone 4" arrives to meet perky woman on the back of a mini-scooter driven by "AT&T," and is apologetic that he's "late….AT&T here isn't exactly the king of the road."
And yet another goes to the heart of a key reason that advocates such as our colleagues at Consumers Union, the parent company of Consumer Reports, are concerned about the possible disappearance of T-Mobile plans fom the marketplace: They can be low-priced. The ad shows the young hipster shirtless, because he's had to pay AT&T a higher cost for a data plan than he would have done with T-Mobile.
The ads, posted between last November and February, are part of a lengthy campaign by T-Mobile targeting AT&T, the number-two-sized U.S. carrier; it will become the biggest by far if regulators approve its takeover of T-Mobile.
What gives? Is the continued presence of the ads online a corporate goof? An indication that it will be business as usual between AT&T and T-Mobile, mocking ads and all, until the deal is consummated, which no one expects to happen soon? Or is this T-Mobile's way of covering its bets that the deal may not be approved at all? (After all, the New York Times this morning quoted one "thoughtful telecom analyst" as saying he'd "never seen a deal with more regulatory risk be attempted in the U.S.")
Whatever the reason, the ads are fun to watch. They're sort of the corporate equivalent of watching failed presidential candidates who have subsequently been nominated as, say, Vice-President or Secretary of State attacking their new boss in clips shot early in the campaign.
Thanks to Dan Simon of CNN for the tip!