PRWeek Awards - Corporate Brand Development Campaign of the Year


Fleishman-Hillard and AT&T: Launching the New AT&T

When the $16 billion merger was announced between SBC Communications and AT&T in January 2005, the company had to...


Fleishman-Hillard and AT&T: Launching the New AT&T

When the $16 billion merger was announced between SBC Communications and AT&T in January 2005, the company had to do an extensive corporate branding campaign to educate key audiences on the brand change, generate pride among employees, position the new AT&T as the premier communications company, and build enthusiasm around the new brand advertising campaign. The new company called on Fleishman-Hillard to guide it through the process.

The PR team took several steps to determine the best way to generate interest in the somewhat tired brand, using information gathered through in-depth interviews and focus groups with more than 2,000 business and residential customers, employees, financial and industry analysts, policymakers, and media.

The strategy that led to one judge calling this campaign “a well-executed and integrated program” took a tiered approach: Announce the decision to rebrand the merged company AT&T, unveil the new AT&T logo, and announce a massive brand advertising campaign.

The team used thought-leader brand experts to validate the strategic significance of selecting the brand of the acquired company, AT&T. The company used an internal video from AT&T CEO and chairman Ed Whitacre to explain the decision to employees. Staffers also received a hardbound book that celebrated the rich history of the company.

The new AT&T logo was unveiled on November 21, 2005, and was the precursor to the major ad campaign to kick off on New Year’s Eve. The “Your World. Delivered.” campaign, which featured the song “All Around the World” by rock group Oasis, was accompanied by another push to media outlets nationwide.

The media strategy and aggressive outreach generated positive coverage and brand validation of the new AT&T with nearly 700 stories worldwide reaching 13 million-plus people. The PR team managed to heighten the brand’s new image and personality with key consumers, with 68% of consumers believing AT&T delivers technology that is relevant to their life.

One judge called this effort a “comprehensive corporate branding initiative, marked by creativity, coherence, and effectiveness.” Another said, “It was exceptionally thorough and well executed.”

Honorable Mention

Edelman and MySpace: My Space: Defining a Generation

ySpace had already been established as the online community of choice for most of the youth culture when Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. purchased the site. Edelman was faced with the challenge of maintaining the site’s anti-corporate image while also making it seem like a viable place for advertisers and investors, and facing the issue of security and safety on social networking sites that had become a heated topic in the media. Edelman used the site’s ongoing entertainment and social awareness programs to show that MySpace had maintained its roots and leveraged current advertisers to demonstrate its effectiveness as an advertising platform. Edelman was also able to shift the dialogue about the safety issue surrounding MySpace through work with educators and parents. Judges agreed that this campaign was a “great example of managing a cultural phenomenon.”

Honorable Mention

Ruder Finn and Novartis: Novartis Thrives in an Industry Under Siege

Ruder Finn conquered the negative stigma that faced the pharma industry and its client, Novartis, by positioning the company’s CEO Daniel Vasella as a thought-leader who was open to taking on the tough issues. This allowed the PR team to get highly visible media placement for the pharma giant and outshine its competitors while delivering the company’s messages about R&D, pricing, and safety. RF was able to break through the DTC noise by telling patients’ personal stories of triumph over life-threatening disease. Novartis was able to reach investors through a series of streaming-video banner ads called “Innovation Spotlights” that featured top executives openly discussing the high-quality generics, the vaccine market, and the drug discovery process. “Novartis took a leadership stance at a time when many of their peers were struggling with what to do,” said one judge.

Finalists 2007

  • Edelman and MySpace: MySpace: Defining a Generation

  • Fleishman-Hillard and AT&T: Launching the New AT&T

  • Merritt Group and Verizon Business: Verizon Business: Open for Business Worldwide

  • Ruder Finn and Novartis: Novartis Thrives in an Industry Under Siege

  • Weber Shandwick and MasterCard Worldwide: Putting MasterCard at the Heart of Commerce: Priceless

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