A $120m telecom marketing blitz hits Australia

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SYDNEY -- A $120m-plus advertising, marketing and sponsorship blitz to establish stakes in Australia's $15bn-plus telecommunications market is gearing up as the Federal Government's July 1 deadline for deregulation of the communications industry approaches.

Telstra and Optus Communications, Australia's two mainstream domestic telephone operators, have already earmarked about $100m in media campaigns, with more to come, while two international giants, BT and AT&T, say they plan "significant" marketing campaigns.

Adding interest to the coming battle, Telstra, which has already announced a three-year $10m sponsorship of Rupert Murdoch's Super League pay- TV football, is reviewing agencies for its regular $75m-plus yearly spend, with nine agencies to present before Easter.

Optus says it will spend most of its normal yearly $40m-plus budget through George Patterson Bates on mainstream television and print, followed by direct marketing and sponsorship, which includes Super League's rival, the Australian Rugby League competition. Optus focuses on corporate, government, retail and small business markets.

BT Australasia is using its parent's "It's good to talk" TV campaign imported from the U.K. and is seeking a local agency. Marketing plans include sponsorships and a series of executive seminars. AT&T says it is still working on its campaign, but will target specific corporate and customer groups, using the arts, culture and education as marketing vehicles.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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