According to reports in the WSJ and the NYTimes, Cingular will begin shedding its brand for the AT&T name starting Monday. Future wireless service from the carrier will be marketed as "Wireless from AT&T," but not right away. Initial ads will combine Cingular's orange bouncing "Jack" logo with AT&T's globe, while the slogan "Your world delivered" will replace "Raising the bar." The NYTimes article says AT&T will phase out the Cingular brand completely within "several months," but the advertising campaign will last five to six months, so the Cingular brand's life expectancy seems to dovetail with the launch of the iPhone in June.
SBC spent a reported $1 billion on its branding campaign following the AT&T acquisition last year to drop the nearly unknown SBC acronym for the better known AT&T. Analysts wonder if this time around the trade off is worth it, since Cingular has better brand equity than a name that recalls the poor customer service of the old AT&T Wireless. Indeed, when Cingular Wireless first launched in 2000 as an umbrella brand for 11 regional wireless carriers, parent companies BellSouth and SBC said the "C" in Cingular stood for "customers."
"Cingular Wireless" was picked from 6,000 other possible names after five rounds of research, global trademark searches, meetings with 18 focus groups and the consumption of 60 pizzas. Back then, apparently, it was edgy to use a misspelled word as a brand (Qwest), but times have apparently changed. The original advertising blitz for Cingular cost $200 million as the orange "Jack" logo started expressing himself between sitcoms with the tagline: "What do you have to say?" What do we have to say? R.I.P., Cingular.