AT&T, AOL, Cox Communications First in an Expected Wave

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In the first wave of expected ad campaign changes wrought by the war, AT&T plans
Photo: AP
Taking part in the action that launched the war was the U.S.S. Donald Cook, shown here firing a Tomahawk missile early this morning.
to pull its new TV campaign and Cox Communications has altered a campaign for cable and high-speed Internet service due to break March 24.

Meanwhile, America Online, the interactive unit of AOL Time Warner, has eliminated ads from its welcome screen and AOL News, in addition to the areas that link to content from AOL Time Warner properties CNN, Time and Money for 48 hours and possibly longer.

AT&T 'controversy'
On Monday, AT&T kicked off a new series of ads that focus on the national arguments about war, gun control, cloning and other controversial issues. Yesterday, AT&T Consumer Business spokesman Gary Morgenstern said the series of 18 commercials in 12 states would be pulled at the start of the war.

"We paused all television advertising and our consumer telemarketing activity out of respect for the U.S. military activities in Iraq. We'll remain in this mode for at least 24 hours and allow world events to help guide our decision on when we'll resume our marketing and advertising activities," Mr. Morgenstern said.

As for AT&T's provocative campaign, "It's got nothing to do with the content of the campaign. The campaign is about an invitation for people to talk. It could be about relationships or the situation in Iraq. As soon as we think the time is right we'll get back on air with those commercials," he said.

WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York, handles AT&T's estimated $350 million account.

Meanwhile, Cox Communications said it has retooled messaging and imagery for a campaign that will break March 24. The effort, by independent agency Doner, Southfield, Mich., is a consumer acquisition campaign for local, long distance, high-speed Internet and digital cable services that originally featured humorous and wacky scenarios.

'Know what's happening'
The multimedia campaign targeting 18 states will break first in print March 24, with a new positioning: "Know what's happening as its actually happening ... with Cox," according to Bobby Amirshahi, a Cox spokesman. Direct mail, dropping that same week,

The AT&T campaign that will be stopped focused on the controversy of impending war.
positions Cox products such as high-speed Internet and digital cable as critical tools to allow consumers to stay informed on world events and the economy.

A direct-mail piece subject to final approval focuses on the cable news networks, such as CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, CNNfn and Bloomberg, available on Cox Digital Cable. A statement on the envelope for the direct-mail piece reads, "Your world could change faster than the time it takes to read this sentence."

The campaign also features TV, breaking later this month, radio and Internet advertising.

Cox began discussing the changes in January but didn't ask Doner to alter the campaign until three weeks ago.

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