Comcast Breaks Out the Branding Iron


Kicked off by a multimillion dollar ad campaign featuring Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, Comcast Corp. last week began putting its own name on the systems it recently acquired from AT&T Corp.

The official conversion of the former AT&T Broadband systems, with 13 million subscribers, to Comcast's moniker started last Friday in the merged MSO's Western division, according to Comcast spokeswoman Jenni Moyer. That division includes the former AT&T clusters in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento, Calif.

The rebranding is expected to conclude in all former AT&T systems by March.

Comcast closed its deal to buy AT&T Broadband last November.

Subscribers in former Broadband markets will start hearing customer-service greetings and get print materials using the Comcast name, and the Comcast moniker will be placed on former Broadband trucks and buildings.

To promote the name change, Comcast will debut a multimedia ad campaign featuring Armstrong in the ex-AT&T markets. The cycling champion appears in three 30-second commercials and one 60-second spot.

The ad campaign will include cross-channel spots, newspapers, broadcast ads and billboards, according to Moyer. The creative cost $750,000, with another $3 million to $4 million spent on media, excluding the value of the cross-channel plays.

Big change ahead

Traditionally, Comcast has done "straightforward name changes" when it has acquired systems, said MSO executive vice president of marketing and customer service David Watson.

But in the case of the former AT&T systems, Comcast plans aggressive rebuilds, intends to bring call centers in-house and will roll out new products.

"We wanted to take it [the ownership change] out of the gates in such a way as to let customers know, and our employees know, that we're going to be committed to this in a 24/7 way," Watson said. "We wanted to go out on a market-by-market basis, but we wanted to be sure we had a strong message that delivered on all those points."

In one spot Armstrong says: "No one will automatically give you respect just because you show up. You have to earn it."

Each spot has a custom tag at the end which says, "Proud to be Chicago's new cable company," or mentions the applicable former AT&T market.