MCI Smoke Detector

Media contacts:

Bell Atlantic

Eric Rabe


"Dedicated to truth, justice, and the disclosure of
outrageous claims"


Special Oscar Edition

March 20, 1998

MCI's Smokescreen of the Day...Maybe Even The Year

The Smoke Detector from Bell Atlantic is designed to give early
warning anytime "smoke" shows up in the advertisements,
press releases or public statements issued by companies determined to
keep Bell Atlantic from offering long distance service
to customers in its region. It will help detect and shed light on the
inflammatory disinformation coming from some big telecommunications
companies every day.

Bell Atlantic Nominates MCI

For Dubious Achievement Oscars

Awards Cite MCI's Deception and Unoriginality

New York, N.Y. - With the Academy Awards upon us, Bell Atlantic today
announced three last minute nominations including Best Actor in a
Fictional Story and Most Unoriginal Script. In addition, Bell
Atlantic nominated MCI for a Lifetime Achievement Award for its long
standing fantasy about local telephone service.

For Best Actor in a Fictional Story, Bell Atlantic nominated Ivan, a
newcomer who stars in MCI's current ad campaign. Ivan, who is
supposed to be a Russian emigre to the United States, can't find
competition in New York's local telephone market though more than 30
companies now compete with Bell Atlantic in New York.

"Ivan's performance is extraordinary. His creative license in
portraying the state of competition in New York is something to
behold," said Eric Rabe, Bell Atlantic's unofficial Academy delegate
and executive director of the Smoke Detector Selection Committee.

Because of their shameless copycatting, Bell Atlantic also nominated
MCI's new advertising campaign for Most Unoriginal Script. Another
Bell Atlantic competitor, RCN, used similar Soviet imagery in their
advertising last year.

"A lot of remakes can put a fresh spin on a tired theme and ultimately
pack audiences in, but MCI's ad is more fraud than fresh," Rabe noted.
"MCI was unable to be original even when creativity wasn't bound by
facts or truth."

Finally, Bell Atlantic also nominated MCI for the prestigious Lifetime
Achievement Award for MCI's role in producing and directing a
continuing series of phony stories about competition in the local
telephone market.

Remember that this is the same studio that brought us the 'Cows' - the
Ishtar of the telecommunications ad wars - whose comic attempts to
convince consumers and regulators that access charges were unfairly
being levied on MCI, fell flat at the box office.

Learning the hard way that animal films are always risky, MCI then
backed a low-budget independent project that opened...and closed in
Albany, New York. The story line centered around a 'monopoly' deli.
New Yorkers didn't bite and many thought MCI was full of baloney.

"MCI was unable to convince New Yorkers that it can't compete in the
local telephone market when so many smaller companies already are,"
Rabe said.

"After its 'Cows,' 'Monopoly Delis,' and now, Ivan - MCI may want to
consider a new twist," Rabe said. "Instead of using drama to complain
about the state of competition, MCI should make an effort to compete
for more of the residential audience in New York and across the
country. Lots of smaller companies are doing so, why can't MCI?"

In honor of these nominations, Bell Atlantic awarded its first-ever
Golden Smoke Detector, the Special Academy Award edition, to MCI for
its extraordinary distortion of the facts in a thirty-second short and
accompanying print depiction.