A merger with Cingular made AT&T a player in the wireless sector, now their ego has taken them right back out of the race.
AT&T has decided to kill off the Cingular brand, replacing it with their own. The reason?
“What consumer and business customers want is a single provider of services for the way they live and work today,” said Wendy Clark, senior vice president for advertising at AT&T in San Antonio, “and if it’s one company, they want it under one name.”
That's great Wendy, but you picked the wrong name. Cingular has brand equity. It is seen as young, hip, reliable. When you think of AT&T, you think of landlines, rotary dials, and the Reagan administration.
Is there ANYONE outside of the AT&T board room that would rather have the AT&T name on their cellphone than Cingular? I've been pretty satisfied with my Cingular service the past few years, but the first time I get a bill with the big bold blue AT&T logo on it, I'm going to start considering Verizon. It will be an involuntary reaction.
Did Steve Jobs know this was coming when he made Cingular the 'exclusive wireless provider' of the iPhone? Talk about a branding mismatch! What's next, re-animating the deceased Orville Redenbacher to have him sell popcorn while rocking out to the tunes on his iPod?
Check out Greg's take on AT&T's move.
UPDATE: Valeria adds a great 'round-up' post about AT&T re-branding Cingular at Conversation Agent.
The Viral Garden, Marketing