ADC begins ad push

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As its much larger rivals in the category falter, ADC Telecommunications today breaks a $7 million print, outdoor and airport advertising campaign designed to create brand awareness for its broadband network solutions.

The campaign, created by Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, represents ADC's first attempt at brand advertising and its largest spend ever. ADC hopes the effort will help differentiate it from a pack of Internet networking giants, namely Cisco Systems, Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks, that dwarf the $3.3 billion company.

Cisco spent $43.7 million in measured media in the U.S. from January to December 2000, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. Cisco's global ad account at Interpublic's GMO/Hill Holliday, San Francisco, is estimated at more than $100 million, though that number is believed to have been pared significantly in recent months, with funds reallocated to direct and interactive marketing activities at Lowe Live and Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, San Francisco.

Last week, Cisco shocked financial analysts and the investment community as the former Wall Street darling announced a $2.25 billion inventory write-off in the third quarter.

But Cisco's and the rest of the embattled networking sector's missteps, could be ADC's gain as the Minneapolis-based company looks to position itself as a challenger brand.

"We are well known in a number of specific market segments but we are not as widely known as we feel we really need to be," said Lynne High, ADC's director of corporate marketing. ADC, which supplies software, hardware and integration services to cable companies and telcos such as Verizon Communications, has typically done product advertising. Last year, ADC began interim brand advertising with Elan Commu-nications, Pittsburgh, before signing on with Campbell Mithun.

Several print executions targeting CEOs and chief information officers breaks in The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. All of the ads feature the headline: "Broadband Isn't Broadband Without ADC" and the tagline: "Broadband Delivered." Print also hits business magazines and telecom trade journals' domestic and international editions. Billboards will appear near key customers' headquarters in major cities.

Despite the chill in the Internet and broadband networking arenas, ADC executives believe they have nothing to lose. "We do feel it is an opportunity to elevate ADC's name among our target customer group," Ms. High said, adding, "It will put us top of mind when the market turns up again." Indeed, telcos like WorldCom spend hundreds of millions of dollars on ADC products.

ADC recently named Rick Roscitt, the former head of AT&T Corp.'s Business Services unit, to the post of chairman-CEO, who is widely expected to raise the company's profile.

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