“There’s a map for that” is the catchphrase for a new ad from Verizon (s vz) that plays upon the ubiquitous advertising meme for the iPhone and Apple’s (s aapl) App Store. However, the ad has nothing to do with Verizon’s own application store, instead highlighting the disparity of 3G coverage between Verizon and AT&T.
The ad shows some guy playing Rock Band on a Samsung Rogue—ugh—while walking down the street. As a voiceover rhetorically asks if you want to know why 3G coverage works so well on Verizon’s network, the coverage map pops up above his head and we hear that “there’s a map for that.”
When an AT&T customer, presumably using an iPhone and sporting a goatee—where’s his beret and cup of free trade expresso?—shakes his head at his phone, the voice asks about “spotty coverage.” The AT&T coverage map then appears and we again hear that “there’s a map for that.” Ha, ha, I guess, but then I thought about it.
Is it really a good idea for Verizon to highlight its own apparent iPhone envy, not to mention the oblique mention of the wildly successful App Store? It depends on who Verizon is advertising to, exactly. Via Silicon Alley Insider, a research note from Morgan Stanley analyst Kathryn Huberty remarks on the possibility of Apple moving away from the exclusivity agreement with AT&T.
“In the top six iPhone markets that are still exclusive, we believe that Apple’s market share could rise to 10%, on average, in a multiple carrier distribution model from 4% today.
Her analysis is that Apple could double iPhone sales by moving to a multi-carrier business model, the logic being most individuals choose carriers over phones, even if the phone is arguably the greatest telecommunication device in the history of the universe. Sure, Apple will no doubt lose the pound of revenue flesh they got from AT&T for exclusivity, but that could be made up in volume.
In this ad, Verizon could be speaking to iPhone users on AT&T’s network, who then pass along their yearning for Verizon in increasing numbers to Apple. What might come of that could be a new map in 2010 and beyond, the iPhone on Verizon’s next-gen LTE network.