MCI REACHES 'HOW TO';BUSINESSES TO GET HELP IN EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY

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Anna Paquin envisioned it. The folks at Gramercy Press embodied it. Now a montage of images and icons will explain how to get it.

Technology-what seemingly everyone longs for-has been the subject of many an ad campaign for many marketers, including MCI Communications Corp., which last week broke its latest major multimedia campaign tagged "networkMCI Solutions-That's how" by Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York.

The campaign, whose size is undisclosed but is comparable to the Anna Paquin and Gramercy Press campaigns (each estimated at well over $25 million) is targeted to businesses. It will run through yearend on network TV and in major newsweeklies and newspapers beginning next week. Similar to the Gramercy Press Web site, "That's how" will also reside on MCI's Internet home page at http://www.mci.com, with interactive additions and updates.

No matter how many campaigns sell technology, taking firm hold of its reins as it bullets through the hype of today's information age has proved to be an elusive task.

"In this world of consolidation and merging and converging markets, we know our customers want and need technology," said William Pate, MCI's director of advertising for consumer markets. "But we also know they're still afraid of technology and confused about how it can fit into their businesses."

"That's how" is a comprehensive initiative that offers network consulting and the option for free products such as pagers, laptops, cell phones, e-mail and Internet access.

"This isn't about when the time is ripe for you to put all the new technology to work for you. We've all gone past that stage," says one of the spots. "This is about putting laptops on people's desks, pagers in their pockets .....It's about e-mail and the Internet."

As part of the offer, MCI sales reps can assess technology needs and propose solutions for customers. When customers sign a term agreement, MCI will establish a special account from which customers can buy hardware, software or consulting or use the fund to offset the cost of telecommunications services. MCI has agreements to sell equipment from companies such as IBM Corp. and Apple Computer.

"With `That's how,' we want to show customers how simple technology can be and how successfully it can transform a business," Mr. Pate said.

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