T-Mobile Takes Tussle With AT&T to NBA Playoffs In Frankenstein Spot

T-Mobile's Simple Choice Campaign Pits the Carrier Directly Against AT&T

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Advertising Age Player

The Wireless wars heat up tonight when T-Mobile takes the latest TV spot slamming the bigger carrier to the NBA Playoffs tonight.

The mobile carrier is focused in on winning over AT&T customers as part of its high-stakes re-brand, calling itself the "un-carrier" in comparison to AT&T. The ad shows Dr. Frankenstein and his monster standing in front of two boxes laying on a table; one, a pink T-Mobile box, the other a blue AT&T box.

Dr. Frankenstein explains that T-Mobile's wireless service is faster, and the monster aptly picks the T-Mobile box. T-Mobile's pitch is to charge users for the bandwidth they use, rather than requiring them to sign up for a contract with a fixed cap. T-Mobile's plan is unlimited data that does not require a contract.

"Is there any other industry that demands you make a guess about how much much of its service you're going to use and then penalizes you regardless of whether you were right or wrong?" T-Mobile CMO Michael Sievert said in a recent interview.

If the Frankenstein spot, specifically, and the campaign, in general, feels familiar, it's because the commercial's director, Phil Morrison, resorted to a similar tactic in his earlier work. Mr. Morrison directed the iconic Mac vs. PC ads for Apple when the tech giant was trying to distance itself from Microsoft. The spot was made by Publicis agencies Riney and Publicis Seattle.

The Frankenstein spots will premiere on Monday night during ESPN's NBA playoffs broadcast, ABC's new reality show "Splash" Tuesday night and on cable networks A&E, BBC, Discovery, Lifetime, MTV, TLC, Travel and VH1 throughout the week. A similar commercial currently in post-production shows a man being thawed out of a block of ice making the same Simple Choice as Frankenstein's monster.

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile had 33.3%, 32% and 8.2% of the U.S. smartphone market, respectively, according to a December 2012 Kantar report.

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