MCI UNREELS A NEW BRANDING EFFORT: TV, PRINT ADS SHOW DIVERSE PEOPLE CONNECTED BY NET

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MCI Communications Corp. this week goes into full swing with a new TV and print campaign focused more on developing MCI's brand than selling a particular product.

In typical ethereal MCI fashion, one TV spot features a dramatic montage of random images meant to invoke ideals of equality, freedom and happiness: a deaf child, a grandmother, a young man-all connected to the Internet and to each other via MCI's communications network.

CONTINUING A THEME

Executives at the company call this new campaign from Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmet-terer/Euro RSCG, New York, yet another extension of the surreal spots from three years ago starring actress Anna Paquin. Those ads offered a childlike interpretation of the future of digital communications and the information superhighway.

"This is a direction we've been going in for some time," said Gretchen Gehrett, executive director of advertising and communications.

However, one execution offers a more practical take on the Internet and MCI's networking services. The humorous spot features a young woman telecommuting from her home. Images of a formal boardroom with executives in suits are juxtaposed with the woman, who's wearing flannel pajamas and bunny slippers as she works at her computer.

PRODUCT ADS DUE IN FIRST HALF

In the first half of '97, MCI will roll out product-specific advertising that focuses on a harder sell, including pricing plans. It won't be the only player in that arena. Every major telecommunications company is expected to begin heavily advertising Internet access and other networking services.

Yankee Group predicts the long-distance companies and regional Bells will own

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