U.S. Cellular faces uphill climb with new advertising campaign

U.S. Cellular's "Hello Better" advertising campaign, which it launched in mid-July, is an explicit attack on the practices of its larger wireless rivals. The ads focus on what U.S. Cellular scores high on: customer experience and call quality. Yet some have argued that the implicit focus of one of the ads is a device that the regional operator does not offer: Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone (though the ad does not mention the iPhone or attack it specifically). In that sense, U.S. Cellular CEO Mary Dillon, a former brand executive with McDonald's and Quaker Oats Co., is taking a gamble that consumers will care more about customer service and other factors than about what devices U.S. Cellular carries. U.S. Cellular undoubtedly faces an uphill battle. "They have to figure out a way to compete against a very popular product," analyst Sergey Dluzhevskiy at Gamco Investors Inc. told Crain's Chicago Business. U.S. Cellular spokesman Steve Carlson told FierceWireless that the ad is not an implicit attack on the iPhone and that it demonstrates that "the customer experience is not just about the device itself, but that it's even more important that your phone work when you need it." Article

Article updated Aug. 28 with comment from U.S. Cellular.

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