Tenn Talk

Marketing, Medicine and Dad - This side of the Mississippi.

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Location: Tennessee

27 August 2004

A $54 Million Marketing Snafu

First you have to understand that AT&T (generic) and AT&T Wireless are two separate companies. That's where the clarity ends. Now for the devilish details.

AT&T (generic) is currently running a massive TV campaign during the Olympics to promote their services to consumers. Unfortunately, they recently announced that they were getting out of the consumer end and would be targeting business customers only.

AT&T Wireless is running ads in Olympic programming touting the quality of their service, while they are being soundly rejected by hundreds of thousands of customers due to the terrible service their network offers. In addition, AT&T Wireless has recently been acquired and will begin operating under the Cingular name. So AT&T (generic) will get to use the AT&T name on all their wireless service. So, in effect, AT&T Wireless' advertising campaign has been helping a potential rival, AT&T (generic). Still with me?

This marketing nightmare began when both AT&T's committed to Olympic TV schedules 2 years ago. When their business plans changed, their marketing did not. Between them, they committed to - and spent - $54 million on advertising during the 2 weeks of the Olympics. The marketing people must be tearing their hair out. Not to mention the investors.

No one asked me, but I'd have suggested that they run public service spots in those time slots. Boys & Girls Clubs - brought to you by. . . Wearing a good-guy hat looks a lot better than sporting a stupid one.

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