AT&T PR Fail

Want to make a bunch of Austinites angry? Be like AT&T and exploit our street art

Want to make a bunch of Austinites mad? Exploit our street art

ATT gigapower advertistment
The new PR campaign for AT&T U-verse features Austin iconic street art with the phrase "gigapower." AT&T U-verse
ATT gigapower Facebook ad
This advertisement ran on Facebook on December 12. Screenshot by Katie Friel
ATT gigapower advertistment
ATT gigapower Facebook ad

You don't mess with Texas, and you don't mess with Austin street art. Austinites are taking to social media to voice their frustration after AT&T took beloved street art and murals and Photoshopped them to advertise their new AT&T U-verse high-speed internet service.

Taking the iconic "I love you so much" at Jo's Coffee on South Congress and the "Focus on one point and breathe" that once graced the Union Pacific railroad bridge spanning Lady Bird Lake, the telecommunications giant replaced the art with with ads reading "gigapower."

Oh, AT&T, you didn't.

Naturally, folks in Austin are unimpressed. After the service (and subsequent ad campaign) launched yesterday, folks began commenting furiously on the AT&T U-verse Facebook page about the campaign penning such gems as:

"Marketing fail — you clearly don't understand your target market. Eff You AT&T."

"I will not, now or ever be using AT&T's services after this outrageous and obscenely offensive PR stunt."

"The funny thing is that AT&T doesn't realize how big of a douchebag ad this is... they probably thought it would help them in Austin."

"This pisses me off."

Some folks were worried that AT&T went so far as to actually replace the art but rest assured — it's just an arguably shoddy Photoshop job.

The new ads arrived on the same day as a disturbing Washington Post article was published criticizing AT&T for offering a cheaper version of U-verse to Austin residents in exchange for access to private information about the users. Writes Brian Fung, "AT&T appears to value Austinites' privacy at just under $350 a year."

Fung continues, "If this model spreads, however, Americans are going to have to start putting a real dollar figure on their freedom from online snooping."

And don't expect this to be the last of the "look how hip we are" tactics from AT&T. With Google's high-speed alternative Fiber expected to hit the Austin market in a few months, we're guaranteed to see a few more of these publicity stunts from both parties.