JWT Bows Qwest Work

Qwest Communications International breaks its first national branding effort today via J. Walter Thompson.
The new telco will spend $40 million on the push, said a representative for the Denver-based client.
A 30-second spot–the first of three to five ads planned by the agency–aims to position Qwest as the top provider of Internet services. Using text and ethereal graphics, the ad begins with a white screen and reveals a series of binary codes that eventually form a light bulb.
A voiceover says: “The promise of the Internet is not in the future. It is now.” A hammer appears and strikes the bulb. Instead of shattering the seemingly fragile object, the tool itself breaks apart. “The bandwidth to change everything,” continues the voiceover, as the Qwest logo appears. The tagline is, “Ride the light.”
The Focus Agency, Dallas, resigned Qwest early last year, leading to a review between JWT and Bright Sun Consulting in New York. Joseph Nacchio, Qwest’s chief executive, said he was impressed with Bright Sun’s creative ideas (it came up with the tagline and logo), but needed a larger shop to handle the business, which has interactive and direct marketing components.
JWT executive vice president Tom Cotton, who heads its Merrill Lynch business, also helped land Qwest, sources said. Cotton had ties to Nacchio, an ex-AT&T executive, during the former’s stint at AT&T shop Foote, Cone & Belding.
Thompson last week tapped Andrew Muller, as a senior partner, management director on Qwest. Muller, 34, also hails from FCB in New York, where he worked on AT&T assignments, including the consumer long-distance business.