Verizon Communications is running ads featuring customers of Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks complaining about slow Internet speeds and unreliable video service -- but the spots don't explicitly promote FiOS or indicate they're from Verizon.
The ads, with the theme "You Deserve Better," are aimed at cable operators in four markets: Time Warner Cable in New York City; Comcast in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh; and Bright House in Tampa, Fla.
The TV spots feature real cable customers, according to Verizon spokeswoman Heather Wilner.
In the ads, cable customers tell an off-screen interviewer about issues they've had with slow Internet connections, unreliable video-on-demand service or poor picture quality.
"Is your Internet ever slow at night?" asks the interviewer in the TWC version. "Sometimes it just stops," replies one interview subject.
Asked about Comcast's VOD, a customer in that segment says, "I've given up on on-demand a lot of times."
Representatives for Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House did not respond to requests for comments.
The Verizon campaign evidently does not go after Cablevision Systems, which competes heavily with FiOS in the New York metro area.
The telco's ads point viewers to YouDeserveBetter.com, a competitive-marketing website for FiOS. The TWC and Comcast ads end with the legend, "Sick of Slow?" Two Bright House spots about slow Internet and weather-related picture-quality problems close with "Sound Familiar?"
A national version of the site geared toward Hispanic consumers that compares FiOS generically to cable is at http://promo.verizon.com/better/national_hsp.aspx?lang=English.
The campaign started in Tampa at the end of May, and Verizon began airing ads in the New York market in late August. The overall campaign includes TV, radio, online and select print.