Telecom Marketing: AT&T spins its globe for Olympic games

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First introduced during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, the morphing, animated AT&T Corp. globe, familiar now from the telecommunications company's ongoing "Boundless" campaign, will be seen again at the games-this month in Salt Lake City.

new life

The undulating logo stars in seven 30-second spots, created by WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York. The use of the moving logo is part of a deliberate strategy to reposition the company, whose roots go back to 1875, in consumers' minds. Three of the seven appeared this weekend during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament, and all use the long-familiar phone company globe icon, but breathe new life into it.

Neither static nor staid, the continually changing globe is meant to represent AT&T as a hip, modern and fast-moving company, offering state-of-the-art services and technology. "We definitely want to be perceived as a company with technology capabilities," said Cindy Neale, AT&T spokeswoman. "We have capabilities beyond voice services. We have Internet access, high-speed data for business and consumers that people may not have known about before."

Like the first "Boundless" campaign, these spots are minimalist in look, using only two or three colors against a white background. Each of AT&T's four brands-AT&T Consumer, Business, Broadband and Wireless-are promoted. Four of the spots are set to run during the Winter Olympics Feb. 8-24, with a media buy believed to be in the $40 million dollar range. AT&T declined to comment on spending.

This iteration of "Boundless" commercials differs from its predecessors by introducing the concept of value. Earlier ads focused on little-known facts about AT&T, such as wireless capabilities or Internet services. The spots show the benefits AT&T services bring to users. For example, the Natural Voices technology developed by AT&T Labs, which conducts research and development for AT&T, now allows users to have their e-mail messages read to them over the phone line. Another example: Wireless customers can now have various types of information, such as airplane arrivals and departures or stock prices, downloaded to their cellphones.

contributing: tobi elkin

Fast Facts

Company: AT&T Corp.

Spending: $40 million

Tagline: "Boundless"

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