AT&T launches new ad campaign 'Better Network' highlighting small cells, DAS

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) is rolling out a new advertising campaign called "Better Network" aimed at illustrating how exactly it is improving coverage and capacity on its wireless network.

The ad campaign does not take aim at any competitors and in fact highlights network technologies like small cells and Distributed Antenna Systems that may not be familiar to consumers. Indeed, the ads, which AdAge reported will replace AT&T's "It's Not Complicated" ads, star two network engineers fine-tuning the network.

One spot features the engineers adding a small cell to an office, and explaining the improvements in coverage, capacity and network quality. One of the engineers flirts with the office worker he has just explained a small cell to.

Source: AT&T

In the other spot, the engineers are installing a DAS in a stadium to improve capacity, and explain it will help when rock fans want to upload photos to Instagram. One fan asks if AT&T is hiring and an engineer asks him if he knows how to optimize a "nine-beam, mutlibeam antenna system," to which the fan replies he does not; that's a deal-breaker for AT&T.

Source: AT&T

In a break from the traditional wireless ad focus on network strength and speed, the new ads will focus on pieces of wireless infrastructure AT&T uses to improve its network, Chad Harris, executive director of marketing at AT&T Mobility, told AdAge: "We're finding that consumers are curious to know why the network does or doesn't work," he said.

As part of its Project Velocity IP (VIP) network upgrade program, AT&T pledged to add more than 1,000 DAS nationwide by year-end 2015. It is also deploying 10,000 more macro cell sites and more than 40,000 small cells under the program.

In January, AT&T announced a new marketing slogan that aggressively took aim at its two biggest competitors: T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ). "Bigger than T-Mobile, faster than Verizon Wireless and more reliable than everybody," was the new catchphrase that the company launched to differentiate itself from its competitors.

AT&T launched the new "Better Network" ads Sunday night when seeds were decided for the March Madness NCAA college basketball tournament. According to AdAge, the campaign will be played heavily on TV during the NCAA Final Four, which set to take place in Dallas, where AT&T has its corporate headquarters. AT&T is also toning down its ads against T-Mobile, though T-Mobile spokeswoman Paula Gottlob told AdAge that T-Mobile's ads, including those aimed at AT&T, "will continue to run their planned media course."

T-Mobile is also targeting Verizon specifically in new ads. In its ads, T-Mobile trumpets that it covers 96 percent of all Americans with voice and data, and says "Fold up your old map, Verizon."

Verizon has had a long-running advertising campaign that compares the Tier 1 carriers' LTE networks. Verizon's is the largest right now. However, T-Mobile aims to challenge that. "I want to decimate that ad campaign from Verizon," T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray told CNET in an interview Thursday. Ray said that Verizon gives itself an advantage by only talking about LTE coverage.

To be fair, the Verizon campaign clearly only talks about LTE networks and not other technologies. "We prefer to compete in the marketplace, not in the courts," Verizon said in a statement. "Our customers know what a true nationwide 4G LTE network experience feels like, map or not."

For more:
- see this AdAge article
- see these two separate AT&T ads

Related Articles:
T-Mobile takes on Verizon in LTE advertising and network battle
AT&T takes on T-Mobile, Verizon with new marketing slogan
T-Mobile's Ray knocks RootMetrics report, lays out LTE vision
RootMetrics: Verizon tops overall network performance tests, T-Mobile comes in last