AT&T WIRELESS MAY DROP MLIFE EFFORT
Is Considering Two Alternative Branding Ideas
AT&T ADS' CONFUSED MESSAGE BOOSTS MET LIFE
Cryptic 'mLife' Theme Leave Viewers Thinking Health Insurance
METLIFE, AT&T WIRELESS SETTLE DISPUTE
Telecom Can't Trademark 'Mlife'
WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, the incumbent ad agency, is expected to continue on the $700 million advertising account, which includes retail work and other brand assignments.
Future of mLife
But the move is likely to produce a major modification in, if not the end of, the mLife campaign, introduced in February 2002. AT&T Wireless earlier this summer had reviewed two alternative brand campaigns from Ogilvy, one without the mLife theme. AT&T had told Ogilvy it was pleased with its retail efforts but not with its TV ads.
AT&T Wireless spent $356.1 million on the mLife campaign in 2002, and $122.5 million in the first quarter of this year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
"We are delighted to welcome Goodby, Silverstein & Partners to the AT&T Wireless team," Michael Sievert, chief marketing officer of AT&T Wireless, said in a statement today. "Goodby has a great track record for creating outstanding advertising and is a welcome addition to an already strong team of agencies devoted to promoting what we think is the best brand in the business."
Mr. Sievert has worked with Goodby before, when he was part of E-Trade's marketing team. Goodby created E-Trade's first Super Bowl ad featuring a chimpanzee for the financial services provider in 1999.
"We have added a terrific new agency," said Mark Siegel, vice president of brand and marketing media relations for AT&T Wireless. "Ogilvy has done great work for us, they are doing great work for us and will continue to do great work for us."
Mr. Siegel declined to comment on the future of mLife but said that mLife "has been very successful for us and it has, in part, played a role in our adding 3 million new customers" since the campaign began.
Redmond, Wash.-based AT&T Wireless, which spun off from AT&T Corp. in July 2001, launched the mLife brand positioning during the Super Bowl in February 2002. The concept was created as a brand umbrella to stress the company's view of a mobile lifestyle. Only two days before the Super Bowl XXXVI debut of the mLife campaign, insurance giant Met Life sought to block AT&T from using the mLife slogan, saying it was similar to Met Life's own. Met Life dropped the request, and discussions between the two continue.