SBC Plans Big Switch to AT&T

DALLAS SBC Communications said it would launch the largest advertising campaign in its history when its merger with AT&T closes next month and it adopts the name of that company.

The multimedia campaign that will include a new AT&T logo will also be the largest marketing effort in the 120-year history of that brand, the company said.

The value of the ad work around the name change was not disclosed. SBC spent $1.6 billion on advertising in 2004 and $590 million through June 2005, per TNS Media Intelligence. AT&T spent $303 million in 2004 and $18 million in the first six months of 2005.

Omnicom Group’s Intermedia in New York developed the new logo. But company spokesman Larry Solomon would not disclose the value of the new campaign or say what share of the brand effort would be handled by Omnicom’s GSD&M in Austin, Texas, and Rodgers/Townsend in St. Louis.

Asked if the company planned to put any of the new work up for review, Solomon said, “We’re not anticipating that at this time.”

A short-term ad campaign in late November will alert consumers to SBC’s new identity as AT&T, followed by a campaign to “re-energize” the AT&T brand in 2006, Solomon said.

SBC officials acknowledged that the AT&T name had lost some luster among consumers in recent years, but had greater recognition among businesses and consumers than SBC.