MESSNER USES AD SERIES TO TELL MCI ONE'S STORY;QUARTETS OF :15S WILL RUN DURING A TV PROGRAM TO SELL SERVICES

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MCI Communications Corp. rolls out phase two of its MCI One campaign this week. And rather than the typical 30- or 60-second spots, agency Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/Euro RSCG, New York, has created what it calls "quatrains": three sets of four :15s, with each set telling a story during one TV program.

"It's a brand new product with a brand new concept," said Joe O'Neill, a Messner Vetere partner. "It deserves and needs brand new advertising to explain to the world exactly what the product is."

TARGETED MESSAGES

With voice-overs done by "Northern Exposure" actor John Corbett, the spots were created with specific audiences in mind and carry the tagline, "Life just got a lot simpler." Spending is estimated at $10 million.

One series of the :15s shows how singles communicate and finally hook up after confusing the meeting place of their blind date. Messner Vetere no doubt had "Friends" or "Seinfeld" viewers in mind while creating that execution; those NBC programs are on the MCI One ad schedule. A similar series highlights the attempts of a kindergarten teacher trying to reach a sick student's mother.

HIGH INTEREST SHOWS

"We're deliberately going to shows that have very high viewer interest," Mr. O'Neill said.

Trying to pique the consumer's curiosity even more, MCI tags each story's first three "chapters" with a "to be continued." Since the launch of MCI One in late April, Messner Vetere has been running teaser spots that emphasize the product and service, including cellular, paging, long distance, e-mail and Internet access.

"It's very unusual for a telecommunications company to have something tangible to sell," Mr. O'Neill said. "We wanted to wrap our hands around the actual hardware before getting into phase two of the campaign."

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