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Pacific Bell is enhancing its awards program, including its first-ever incentives geared specifically to Hispanics and Asian-Americans.

The move is designed to protect the carrier's 8 million California residential customer base in the face of deregulation.

Customers who join the upgraded Pacific Bell Awards program will accumulate points for current charges on monthly phone bills.

Ten points will be earned for each dollar spent on the monthly phone bill, including long-distance charges to other carriers, thus allowing members to double-dip in rewards programs.

Awards that will appeal to minorities include trips on Mexican and Asian airlines. One feature allows the tickets to be used by relatives for a U.S. visit.

Points also can be redeemed for dollars-off coupons as well as products and services ranging from computers to hotel stays.

The program will be backed with an English-language TV spot from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, featuring a humorous "Pacific Bell spokesperson," who travels to Mexico with an awards recipient who searches unsuccessfully for an uncle.


A second TV spot, from Ogilvy & Mather, Los Angeles, will follow the Pacific Bell spokesperson theme, but will include a direct-response phone number.

The $2 million effort, to be concentrated in the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets, also includes direct mail and Hispanic and Asian TV and Asian print.

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