There's been an unfortunate amount of balls jokes in telco ads of late.
It all began with an ad from Verizon called, "A better network as explained by colorful balls," which launched in recent weeks. The ad cites metrics from RootMetrics, which basically said that Verizon's wireless service is superior to T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint. The ad also said Verizon "won" in the survey it references for data, speed and reliability.
T-Mobile, never a company to sit idly by while its services are attacked, last week released a video online responding to the ad. In a pop-up video-style response, T-Mobile mocked the spot with the very ad Verizon created, and added pop-up quote bubbles as responses to the claims Verizon made. T-mobile titled their video "Busting Verizon's balls ad." Fair enough.
Then on Sunday, both T-mobile and Sprint aired TV spots in response to the Verizon ad -- and both essentially used the same creative idea: bowling balls? marbles? In any case, balls rolling down a track to respond to Verizon.
It's not unusual for competitors to call each other's services out for being inferior. But it's not that common to see the companies respond with the exact same visuals, let alone launch on the same night. Representatives for T-Mobile and Sprint said the move was merely coincidental.
"Totally coincidental that we both ran new ads challenging the Verizon ad, but it's clear that people are taking issue with Verizon's claims," said a Sprint spokesman. The sprint ad, by the way, references Verizon's "tiny red balls."
A T-Mobile spokeswoman said that using similar creative is uncommon for the company, though a few years back T-Mobile had a series of back and forth print ads with AT&T.
Representatives for Verizon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"I really can't speak to whether we have done something similar to this during Sprint's entire 100-year history," said the Sprint spokesman."Having said that, it's safe to say that if we disagree with something someone says about us we are not going to be shy about calling them out for it."
Sprint's ad announced its LTE PLus network delivers faster download speeds than Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. It also said that customers switching to Sprint can save 50% on most Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile plans, a continuation of a recent promotion.
With its spot, T-Mobile touted its LTE network, which doubled in the last year, reaching nearly as many people as Verizon's network does.
Staying out of this so far is AT&T. A spokesman did not immediately respond to a comment about whether AT&T was going to release a similar ad.
Here are the ads from Sunday night: