Verizon replaces Bell Atlantic, GTE

IRVING, TX - In a move that took many telecom PR pros by surprise, Bell Atlantic and GTE announced last week that they will be scrapping their established brand names as soon as their mega-merger is formally approved.

IRVING, TX - In a move that took many telecom PR pros by surprise, Bell Atlantic and GTE announced last week that they will be scrapping their established brand names as soon as their mega-merger is formally approved.

IRVING, TX: In a move that took many telecom PR pros by surprise,

Bell Atlantic and GTE announced last week that they will be scrapping

their established brand names as soon as their mega-merger is formally

approved.

The GTE/Bell Atlantic venture, which promises to be the nation?s largest

wireless telephone company, will be known as Verizon. The two telecom

giants hired three branding firms (San Francisco?s Landor Associates and

New York?s Lippincott & Margulies and De Sola Group) and considered

about 8,500 company names before settling on the new moniker. Pronounced vurr-EYE-sun, it combines the Latin ?veritas,? or truth, with horizon, which the company believes ?signifies the possibilities ahead.?

According to GTE spokesperson Sharon Cohen-Hagar, the companies agreed to abandon their established names because both implied a more limited scope than what the new entity will embrace.

?The ?Bell? in Bell Atlantic connotes an image of voice service, and GTE

is not particularly well known outside our footprint,? she explained,

adding that a naming committee tested prospective names for

international linguistic acceptability.

However, many PR pros in the telecom sector think Bell Atlantic and GTE

are making a tragic mistake. ?It amazes me that they?d just throw away

that kind of brand equity,? said one. ?You simply can?t snap your

fingers and hope people accept it. Plus, who knows how to pronounce the

new thing??

Verizon Wireless should ultimately boast more than 24 million

customers.

The companies used no outside PR firms to announce the change and will

rely heavily on advertising to build the new brand post-merger,

Cohen-Hagar said.

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