Marconi Ads to Make 1st U.S. Connection

British Telecom’s 1st Effort for America to Debut in 2000
NEW YORK–Marconi, a global telecom formerly known as General Electric PLC, will launch its maiden voyage into the U.S. market Dec. 8 with a business-to-business print campaign.
Marconi will follow up with a series of visually oriented spots in January. The company’s agency of record is Athorn, Clark & Partners, New York, which specializes in high-tech clients.
“We’re well established in Europe, but the U.S. has been a big gap in our geographical coverage,” said Tim Simpson, Marconi marketing director. Simpson would not reveal spending, but said it will be comparable to ad budgets of direct competitors, such as Lucent, which spent $32 million last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
Unlike Cisco Systems’ “Are you ready?” campaign showing masses of people connecting through the Internet worldwide, and Nortel’s “Come Together” ads featuring office- workers celebrating their interconnectivity with other businesses, Marconi’s ads focus on the individual, with the tagline: “Achieve your finest hour.”
“We want to position ourselves as a company that provides real benefits to people through technology,” said Simpson. “And we’re featuring individuals achieving their finest hour by using the Internet.”
The print ads show a family broadcasting a childbirth on the Web, an investment banker making a deal on networking equipment, and the offerings of an e-commerce art gallery.
Ads also list services Marconi is introducing, such as broadband capability and Internet switching.
Marconi, London, is a $7.7 billion company with about 40,000 employees. Last week, Marconi finalized the $11 billion sale of its defense-electronic unit to British Aerospace. K