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SPRINT INTRODUCES NEW DIRECTION AND THEME -- 'BE THERE NOW' -- WITH MAJOR CORPORATE ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN AND SUBSTANTIAL INTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

 KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Sprint (NYSE: FON) begins a major company-wide advertising campaign, with full-page distinctive print ads in USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, and new television commercials starring long-time Sprint spokeswoman, Candice Bergen. The ads will debut on "ABC World News This Morning." The ad campaign also was presented today to Sprint's stockholders and employees at a special capabilities exhibition held in conjunction with the company's annual meeting.
 Sprint's multimedia outreach is built around a key new selling and benefit message and a customer-oriented rallying cry for the company and all its employees -- "Be There Now." This tells the audience that communications options, ideas, solutions and technology on other companies' drawing boards are available now -- from Sprint. It also will serve to challenge Sprint employees to continue to deliver ever higher levels of responsiveness to customers -- levels unprecedented in the industry.
 "While we've built an excellent reputation in long distance service, we've decided to use this corporate image campaign to emphatically communicate that we are far more than long distance -- Sprint is the nation's only major company providing long distance, local and cellular services," said William T. Esrey, chairman and chief executive officer, Sprint. "Today, we stand ready to offer consumers cutting edge technology. We are already where other companies want to be."
 The campaign also points out the global reach of Sprint's business. Sprint's global partnerships already make it possible for its customers to "Be There Now" with global value-added services including integrated voice, data and videoconferencing. Sprint has wholly-owned subsidiaries in more than 20 countries, and regional and national alliances in Europe, Asia and the Americas, all using common network technology and a common brand wherever possible. In the data area, Sprint is the world leader in building a unified, seamless global network, serving 36 countries with SprintNet for the broadest geographical reach of any value-added network in existence. While others in the industry may be trumpeting alliances for the global delivery of services at some point in the future, Sprint customers enjoy those services now.
 In creating the new tag line, "Be There Now," Sprint's advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson/San Francisco, was chartered with creating a campaign that would not only include an enduring and wide-reaching selling line, but that also would be aggressive and inspiring enough to rally Sprint's employees and make customers feel empowered so they don't have to "wait."
 Sprint will spend over $30 million on the campaign in the second half of 1993 alone. The company said it expects to sustain the campaign at appreciable levels for an extended period of time.
 "We see this initiative as an important platform for all our communications in the future," said Tom Weigman, chief marketing officer, Sprint. "We expect it to better solidify the overall understanding and perception of Sprint in the global marketplace, and enable our other marketing and sales initiatives to be both more focused and more productive."
 Sprint will communicate the campaign's messages to its cellular, local and long distance divisions' employees through a series of meetings in offices, telemarketing and customer service centers and sales locations throughout the country, beginning at today's capabilities exposition in Kansas City. Additionally, employees will receive other communications materials designed to instill the need to incorporate the "Be There Now" theme in the way they conduct business with their customers on a daily basis.
 "Customers have been conditioned to listen to ads speaking to them in this empowering and imperative tone, but not in the telecommunications industry," explained Weigman. "Sprint is the first major telecommunications provider to use this advertising style."
 He noted that Nike's "Just Do It" campaign helped to break through the competitive and cluttered athletic footwear market and has served them well for many years. Recently Pepsi's "Be Young, Have Fun, Drink Pepsi" ads were launched to grab the new "Pepsi Generation" and, literally, direct them. "Sprint's tag line -- 'Be There Now' -- speaks on so many different levels and will take on different meanings when placed in ads for the various Sprint services," Weigman added. The well-known "pin-drop" image will appear on the screen as the new tag line comes up.
 "Candice Bergen embodies the notion behind 'Be There Now.' With Candice, we benefit from the classy wit that has made her commercials among the most memorable on air today," explained Esrey. "We also think she delivers the meaning of 'Be There Now' better and with more spirit than any voice-over announcer possibly could."
 Sprint is a diversified international telecommunications company with more than $10 billion in annual revenues and the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network. Its divisions provide global long distance voice, data and video products and services, local telephone services to nearly 6 million subscriber lines in 19 states, and cellular operations that serve 42 metropolitan markets and more than 50 rural service areas.
 -0- 6/8/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Dykes, 202-828-7435 or, after hours, 703-242-1769, or Angela Peacock, 202-828-7415 or, after hours, 301-865-3766, both of Sprint/
 (FON)


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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 8, 1993
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