AT&T'S NAME GAME CALLED FOLLY FOR NCR

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AT&T's decision to deep-six the 110-year-old NCR Corp. name last week-in favor of the weighty new moniker AT&T Global Information Solutions-rings flat for some observers.

In a national print campaign featuring quotes from people as diverse as Winston Churchill and baseball legend Yogi Berra, AT&T introduced business customers to the new name of the computer company it acquired in 1991.

FCB/Leber Katz Partners, New York, created the ads, which will continue in national consumer magazines.

One ad uses a Berra malapropism-"If you don't know where you're going, you will wind up somewhere else"-in a series of quotes aimed at illustrating AT&T's leadership in computing and communications.

But some corporate identity consultants believe AT&T erred in choosing such a bulky name in today's increasingly crowded field of technology-heavy names.

"It makes all the sense in the world to add the powerful brand name of AT&T to NCR's operations, but that long, generic-sounding brand name they came up with isn't a winner. They could have done much better," said Ken Roberts, a partner in the corporate identity consultancy of Anspach Grossman Portugal.

"You'll find the following words in just about every technology company's offerings these days: network, application, information, system and solution. They're descriptive of the services, but they're overused, and they don't set anyone's brand apart from competitors' anymore," Mr. Roberts said.

Even telephone operators answering calls with the new name at the unit's Dayton, Ohio, headquarters were tripping over it last week, and insiders at AT&T indicated they think the name is far from catchy.

AT&T stuck by the name, saying it was chosen after extensive market research of business customers, including a phone survey of 2,100 businessmen in 10 countries.

"It best describes our services, and it came directly from customers," said a spokesman for the unit.

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