Bell Atlantic Hangs Up Nynex Name

Changes Introduced in Series of Commercials Created by Arnold
BOSTON-Bell Atlantic is being introduced to consumers in a multi- media campaign by Arnold Communications that broke last week.
The three-tiered creative plan involves nine TV spots and radio, print and outdoor ads that will run over the course of the next few weeks in New England and New York. Media spending was not disclosed.
“The assignment was a rare opportunity to speak to the public and not sell them anything,” said Kathy Kiely, executive vice president and the account creative director at the Boston agency.
The first tier, “Icons,” uses animation to announce the Nynex name change and Bell Atlantic’s new logo. Three 15-second spots broke last week.
The second tier, “Lorraine and Harrold,” demonstrates to consumers what the change will mean. Three 30-second and two 15-second spots, slated to break next week, feature an elderly couple.
In one ad, the two sit side by side, with a phone between them. “Nynex just changed its name to Bell Atlantic,” says the voiceover, a.k.a. actor and company spokesperson James Earl Jones. “Expect great things, many of them quite familiar to you.” A dial tone is heard, and as Harrold passes the phone to Lorraine, he exclaims, “It sounds identical!” “Uncanny,” responds the expressionless Lorraine.
The couple represents a part of the population most suspicious of change, according to Kiely. “We wanted to show them they’re still getting the same service. Their phone’s still there. The dial tone still sounds the same.”
One new feature is the sound of a bell when the Bell Atlantic name is announced.
“That’s an Arnold touch that we would like to see continued,” Kiely said.
Jones, who provides the voiceover in all nine spots, makes a brief appearance in the final, 30-second, feel-good commercial that celebrates the merger.
“It’s saying this is a time to celebrate,” Kiely said. “Two great companies are coming together; expect great things.”