Ameritech Unifies Its Message

Ameritech is hoping good service from its people makes a difference in its impending battle for the hearts of Midwestern telecommunications customers.
The first branding effort from the Chicago-based company’s new agency, Ammirati Puris Lintas in New York, attempts to bring customers in by means other than price and technology. The people featured in three TV spots that broke last week each discuss the dedication of a family member–a husband, an uncle and a daughter–who works for Ameritech. The tagline is, “In a world of technology, people make the difference.”
“People are looking beyond technology for people who can help them,” said Joan Walker, Ameritech’s senior vice president of corporate communications.
The campaign relies on consumers having good interactions with Ameritech and its workers. To make sure that happens, Walker said, the company will spend up to $1 billion over three years on employee training, all-in-one billing and operational updates.
Since joining the company a year ago, Walker has been charged with consolidating the ad efforts of Ameritech’s business units and creating a unified corporate message. Ammirati won creative responsibilities for $100 million in business previously split among Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, and DDB Needham and Leo Burnett, both Chicago. Media buying remains at Burnett. Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York, handles Ameritech Cellular, which will take on Ammirati’s new tagline in future advertising.
For now, Fallon remains the agency for Ameritech’s planned long-distance launch, initially set for this year but delayed indefinitely by federal regulators. The company still plans to use Fallon-created work for the launch, but Ammirati will take over the business subsequently, Walker said.