Ackerman, Telecom Back In Print

Three years to the day after Williams sold its fiber-optic network to WorldCom, Ackerman McQueen launched a multi-million ad campaign to trumpet the Tulsa, Okla.-based company’s return as a carrier.
The agency’s Tulsa office has broken a series of cartoon ads that will run daily in The Wall Street Journal and on a frequent schedule in BusinessWeek and trade publications. The cartoons are by artist Fred Hilliard, who did earlier Ackerman ads for Williams prior to the sale of its previous telecommunications unit to WorldCom for $2.5 billion in 1995.
A budget was undisclosed, but Ackerman’s total billings for its Williams work–for both the network and energy divisions of the company–is estimated at $5-10 million.
“We wanted to let everyone know that Williams is a big player,” with approximately $1 billion in revenue committed from wholesale customers, said agency executive vice president Melanie Hill. One of Williams’ major clients will be U.S. West in Englewood, Colo.
According to the company, its new network is expected to expand to more than 18,000 miles of cable by year’s end.
Hill said in addition to the telecommunications ads, Ackerman is kicking off its first branding efforts for Williams’ energy unit.