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.

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