At&T will begin its biggest-ever advertising campaign on New Year's Eve in an effort to promote the company created when SBC Communications...
AT&T will begin its biggest-ever advertising campaign on New Year’s Eve in an effort to promote the company created when SBC Communications bought AT&T Corp. in November.
AT&T, now the largest U.S. telephone provider, will spend “hundreds of millions” of dollars on the campaign, said Jeff Kagan, an independent telecommunications analyst who was briefed by AT&T. San Antonio-based AT&T wouldn’t disclose the cost.
The company is trying to redefine the AT&T brand after the $16.5 billion combination. Chief Executive Officer Edward Whitacre kept the AT&T name because of its 128-year history that can be traced back to Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. While AT&T garnered international recognition, it also became synonymous with the boom and bust of the industry.
“They have got to change the world’s view of the company,” Kagan said. “It’s something that goes way beyond what they’ve done in the past.”
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AT&T will blanket Times Square in New York with the message “Your World Delivered,” aimed at convincing customers the company can meet all their communications needs, Shelley Almager, director of advertising, said in an interview.
“This is a substantially different company,” Almager said.
The ads include a TV spot that will play during college football bowl games, and advertisements in more than 150 newspapers, Almager said. They also will include the music of British rock band Oasis.
The new company will combine services that work together across an Internet-based network, including television delivered over telephone lines, fast Web access and new telephone products.
AT&T also will fend off competition from Verizon Communications, which plans to complete the purchase of MCI next month. AT&T, the largest U.S. long-distance provider, and MCI, the No. 2, agreed to be acquired after suffering revenue slumps.
The company will find its biggest challenge is convincing customers it can supply all forms of communications services, Kagan said.
“People still think about telecom in separate sectors,” Kagan said. “The walls are coming down. The companies are bigger and they are offering all of these services. It’s an idea that’s been building over the last decade, but nobody’s actually stopped and pointed it out.”