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AT&T USING CABLE, INTERNET IN LAUNCH;CROSS-MEDIA PROMOTION REACHING OUT TO LATIN AMERICA

By Published on .

As Latin America deregulates its monopolistic telecommunications businesses, AT&T Corp. is trying to reach out and touch more consumers in the region with a unique cable TV and Internet media buy in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

The new $5 million corporate image campaign, in Spanish and Portuguese, broke in early October and is handled by Young & Rubicam Inc. subsidiary, Wunderman Cato Johnson, New York.

The cross-media promotion features TV commercials on the Discovery Channel, ESPN and USA Networks in Latin America that prompt viewers to go online with the cable channels' Web sites and then link up with AT&T's new Latin American Web site (http://www.ATThola.com).

NEW POSITIONING

"We are trying to position ourselves as a leader in advanced communications services and a leader in high-quality technological innovations to win new business as Latin American telecommunications is liberalized," said Edgardo Lertoro, VP-marketing communications for AT&T in Coral Gables, Fla. "We think that Latin America is very important to us."

While AT&T has advertised in Latin America previously, this campaign is the first exclusively for the telecommunications business, which is seeking visibility as Argentina, Chile and Colombia follow Mexico's lead earlier this year in deregulating the telecommunications business.

The buy is the first in Latin America to link the Internet with TV, according to Karen Ferrero, VP-international media director at Wunderman. "It's a unique way to build AT&T's image and make it synonymous with technology and cutting edge developments."

"This AT&T campaign is the first that I know of that spans media and the Internet, which is global," said Barry Frey, VP-international sales and new business development at USA Networks. "There's a very cluttered media environment today and this gives AT&T a way to stand out beyond the 30-second TV commercial."

DIFFERENT APPROACHES

The campaign uses a different approach on each cable channel. On USA Networks, AT&T exclusively sponsors the Sci-Fi channel programming lineup on Saturdays, which includes "Star Trek." In :60s, viewers can play the AT&T Star Trek Trivia Game, which includes a trivia questioAT&T promotes its Web site

followed by a :30 corporate image AT&T message and finishing with the trivia answer. Viewers can continue playing the trivia game by logging onto the Sci-fi Channel's Web site, the Dominion (http://www.scifi.com). From Dominion, access can be gained via a hot link to AT&T's Web site, which is primarily a chat area that also features sports, news and even offers participants the opportunity to play soccer online.

MULTILINGUAL SITE

The site is predominantly in English, but Spanish and Portuguese options are also available.

On the Discovery Channel, AT&T sponsors a series of 13, 30-minute shows called "Interacci¢n." During the show, a 20-something host surfs a pseudo-Internet to access adventure sports in faraway locations. One program, for instance, shows a young adult diving with the sharks in Australia. To supplement ads on ESPN, AT&T advertises on the cable channel's Web site (http://www.ESPN.net), which offers the latest sports scores and other facts about sporting events worldwide. AT&T places its Web ads next to data about localized Latin American sporting events.

To promote its Web site, AT&T has sponsored four two-day Web fairs in Bogot , Buenos Aires, Mexico City and SÌo Paulo. The fairs, held at shopping malls and city squares, offered consumers free access for 15 minutes to the AT&T Web site.

"We were floored by the number of people who showed up," Ms. Ferrero said. "Some people were on line for a half hour and we had to stay open late."

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