AT&T gives local-phone rollout to McCann

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AT&T Corp. has awarded advertising responsibility for its rollout of local telephone service to McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, which could see billings of $100 million by 1998.

As telephone deregulation accelerates, AT&T has pledged to offer local service in 15 markets by yearend. Those markets will represent about 55% of AT&T's long-distance revenue base.

So far, AT&T has begun offering local service in Sacramento, Calif., and Connecticut. It is in the process of expanding into Chicago and Grand Rapids, Mich.


Executives close to AT&T had speculated the company might turn to regional agencies to handle the retail-oriented local service advertising in specific markets. Once it decided to name a single agency, AT&T gave the nod to McCann, one of its three roster shops.

"McCann was the right agency for this assignment," an AT&T spokesman said. He emphasized that McCann's work "will look and feel like the one message" that all AT&T advertising will now aim to communicate.

Earlier this month, AT&T rolled out a new brand-image campaign from Y&R Advertising, New York, tagged "It's all within your reach." At the same time, it restructured management to unify its voluminous marketing efforts.

An executive close to AT&T said McCann made sense for the local assignment in that context because it handles AT&T Wireless Services, which relies heavily on local marketing. That account is worth $50 million or more. McCann also handles all of AT&T's business-to-business advertising.

AT&T's $1 billion ad budget and hundreds of different products and services make it hard to keep track of agency billings, but Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, is generally considered the company's lead agency. It handles most consumer-services advertising, including long distance.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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