.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

AT&T to Cingular: Hit the road “Jack”



I live in Atlanta, the home of Cingular, and I was at BBDO Atlanta, Cingular’s advertising agency, when the brand was born, so I have soft spot in my heart for “Jack,” the Cingular logo. Even so, I’m not sure how I feel about AT&T dissolving the Cingular brand. In the beginning I was against it, if for no other reason than it washed a few billion dollars of brand equity down the drain. But when you look at why the Cingular brand existed in the first place, the AT&T move starts to make some sense. Cingular had two owners—BellSouth, with a 40 percent share, and SBC, with a 60 percent share. So naming it things like BellSouth Wireless, SBC Wireless or even BSSBC Wireless didn’t fly. But Cingular did. Now that AT&T owns the whole enchilada, maybe calling it AT&T is the right move.

One good thing—according to the folks at
Strategic Name Development, they’re going about the transition in the right way. “AT&T's press release assures us that its efforts will "transfer Cingular's strong brand equity to the new AT&T." I think that, as reported in AdWeek, the brand transition technique AT&T is employing in its advertising to transition from the Cingular brand to the AT&T brand will enhance its chances of a successful brand name transition.

But what about poor Jack? Will he be sold like the sock puppet? He could certainly pep up a bank or a fast food chain. Perhaps AT&T will list him on eBay. Stay tuned.

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