Ameritech Dials East

BOSTON-Holland Mark Martin Edmund is preparing direct marketing materials touting the launch of Ameritech Corp.’s proposed long-distance service in the Midwest.
The Boston-based agency picked up the assignment from the Chicago-based telecommunications giant following a quiet review of undisclosed contenders, said executive creative director Bob Minihan. “We’ve been working steadily . . . but can’t [unveil] the materials until the federal regulators” approve the firm’s long-distance foray, Minihan said.
Fallon McElligott in Minneapolis was assigned long-distance advertising responsibilities by Ameritech in June 1995. Since then, Fallon also has been developing creative materials for the eventual long-distance launch. When Ameritech gains approval to begin long-distance service, it will initially use Fallon’s work.
As that service expands, the company has said it intends to mesh advertising responsibilities for that area into consumer marketing assignments handled by Ammirati Puris Lintas in New York, which was assigned Ameritech’s consolidated account earlier this year.
The Federal Communications Commission last week rejected Ameritech’s most recent long-distance petition. The company is attempting to become the first of the so-called Baby Bells to offer long-distance dialing from its own calling region and has sought permission to provide that service to customers in Michigan. The FCC, however, was not sufficiently convinced that Ameritech had opened its local market to rivals.
Observers don’t expect the proposed long-distance service, or the attendant marketing campaign, to begin until the first or second quarter of 1998.
While he would not discuss annual billings, Minihan described the Ameritech assignment as “direct-oriented . . . relationship-building stuff.” Billings are estimated at $5 million.
-with Scott Hume and Trevor Jensen