Alltel's Ford Touches On Nascar, Nerds

Scott Ford's speaking appearance at a July 22 gathering of the Rotary Club of Little Rock produced a couple of anecdotes related to the planned $28.1 billion sale to Verizon Corp.

The CEO of Little Rock's Alltel Corp. said Verizon was interested in continuing the sponsorship of Ryan Newman's Dodge Charger on the Nascar circuit.

Ford described the publicity gained from the Alltel car as providing a 6-1 advertising leverage. He said the only better investment, on a cost-per-eyeball basis, was Alltel Arena in North Little Rock.

Newman's No. 12 car, sporting Alltel's familiar blue and white colors, won the Daytona 500 back in February. Ford said he was in attendance – nice timing for his first Nascar event.

Ford also was asked if Alltel was going to continue its popular My Circle advertising campaign, which skewers Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.

Those are the ads that portray the Big Four wireless carriers as nerdlings in contrast to the cool Alltel dude.

"Yes, sir.. we will be competing fiercely until the last bell rings," Ford said.

You might recall that earlier this year Verizon sued Alltel in federal court regarding one of its My Circle marketing potshots.

That shot alluded to Verizon not allowing customers to modify calling plans in mid-contract unless the contract was extended.

Verizon claimed it had mended its ways in the complaint filed in Richmond, Va., and that the portrayal was inaccurate.