Star Power for Nortel

Telecommunications firm Nortel Networks hopes to spark dialogue about the Internet with an estimated $30 million campaign featuring an eclectic list of celebrities.
Initial print ads featuring Olympic gold-medal winner Michael Johnson and Dallas Stars hockey player Joe Nieuwendyk ask, “What do you want the Internet to be?” The answers are supplied by the celebrity endorsers themselves. Nieuwendyk, for example, answers, “Something to do in the 83 minutes of off-season.”
Temerlin McClain in Irving, Texas, is responsible for the campaign. Television will follow in October. Those ads, like the print work, are the second phase of the firm’s $100 million “Come together” series, which hit in March and featured the Beatles song. The campaign will eventually include radio, outdoor and other media “to have a truly integrated dialogue,” said Bill Conner, chief management officer for the Toronto-based company.
Connor said he “certainly looked at” Microsoft’s “Where do you want to go today?” campaign, but was more influenced by the spread of the Internet. “At the heart of this tsunami of change is the Internet and we’re asking, ‘What do you want to do with it?’ ” he said.
Future ads will feature author Kurt Vonnegut and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, plus “everyday heroes” like spelling bee winners and people using the Internet, Conner said. Targeted print includes business titles like The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times. –with J. Dee Hill