NEW YORK - People across the country soon will get to know the Verizon name as the result of an intense branding campaign for the new company that starts tomorrow, Aug. 1.
Verizon Communications - the national telecommunications company formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE - will begin an advertising campaign telling customers and the general public that the merged company's new name is Verizon (pronounced vurr-EYE-zon).
At the same time, the company will begin a 12-to-18-month effort to change the name and logo on monthly bills, vehicles, buildings, marketing brochures, pay phones, Web sites - virtually everywhere the Bell Atlantic and GTE names are currently seen. And, customers who call Verizon's business offices and service centers that day also will be greeted with the Verizon name. James Earl Jones, who served as the spokesperson for Bell Atlantic, will greet callers to Verizon's national directory assistance.
"Our change to Verizon may well be the largest re-naming campaign ever undertaken," said Janet Keeler, Verizon senior vice president for marketing services and brand management. "Through our initial advertising, our customers will see first-hand that the new Verizon has their communications interests as our top priority. Our plans include coverage in 45 of the top media markets in the country, meaning that most of the country - which includes most of our customers - will hear about our new name and continuing dedication to service."
Keeler said that the advertising has two messages for customers.
"The advertising's first job is to build awareness with our customers that the two companies they have done business with and trusted over many years have merged into a new company named Verizon. The second job is to reassure customers that even though we are changing the name of the company, customers can continue to rely on Verizon to deliver great quality service, as they did with Bell Atlantic and GTE," she said.
Keeler noted that many people already have heard the new name since Verizon Wireless, the company's domestic wireless operation, has been operating throughout much of the country under the Verizon name since early April.
The August ad campaign will include television and radio commercials, print and Internet ads, and a variety of outdoor advertising. The print portion of the campaign features Verizon employees who explain the company's new name and promise that customers can expect the same reliable and dependable services they have come to expect.
"Our employees take center stage in this first campaign because they are the face of the new Verizon," Keeler said. "They are the ones who build relationships with customers, and they are the ones who deliver on our promises to customers."
The campaign will run one month. It was created by The Lord Group, Burrell Communications, Temerlin McClain and La Agencia de Orcí & Asociados.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ), formed by the merger of Bell Atlantic and GTE, is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 95 million access lines and 25 million wireless customers. A Fortune 10 company with more than 260,000 employees and approximately $60 billion in 1999 revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.