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AT&T: 1908 Origins of the Nation's Oldest Continuous Institutional Advertising Campaign

Noel L. Griese
Journal of Advertising
Vol. 6, No. 3 (Summer, 1977), pp. 18-23
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4188120
Page Count: 6
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Abstract

When Theodore N. Vail became president of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company in 1907 there was considerable public animosity toward AT&T for a number of reasons, including the company's aggressive suppression of competition under earlier leadership. With the assistance of the N. W. Ayer & Son advertising agency, Vail launched a national magazine advertising campaign to court public opinion. Vail hoped to make the public aware of the quality of service provided by AT&T licensees, to persuade the public to a more favorable opinion of AT&T and, above all, to sway the public in favor of the concept of the telephone industry as a natural and beneficent monopoly. The five pioneering institutional ads for AT&T prepared by N. W. Ayer in 1908 marked the beginning of an advertising program which continues uninterrupted down to the present day.

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