A Part of the Fabric of the Community
For years, the dominant name for local and long distance telephone service in Oklahoma and across the United States was AT&T. However, the case United States v. AT&T, filed in 1974 by the US Department of Justice led to the breakup of AT&T in a final agreement settled in 1982. In the settlement, AT&T agreed to divest its local service operating companies in return for a chance to go into the computer business with AT&T Computer Systems. Effective, January 1, 1984, AT&T’s local operations were split into seven “Baby Bells”. In Oklahoma, the “Baby Bell” was Southwestern Bell, which later changed its name to SBC Communications. Over the years, with increased competition and with AT&T spinning off AT&T Wireless, which was bought by SBC subsidiary Cingular, the AT&T name lost its stature in Oklahoma. All that seemingly changed yet again beginning on “January 31, 2005 when SBC announced that it would purchase AT&T Corp. for more than USD $16 billion.” (source: Wikipedia) Later that same year, Cingular CEO, Ed Whitacre, “announced plans to market Cingular under the AT&T banner,” too. (source: Wikipedia)
Suddenly the AT&T name was back in a bold way in Oklahoma. The only problem was that businesses and consumers were confused and felt that AT&T had long since left the state.
In reality, many generations of Oklahomans worked for the same company despite the changing name from AT&T to Southwestern Bell to SBC Communications and back to AT&T. Regardless of the name changes, this organization had been a stalwart part of the local community all along. In business-to-business outreach however, AT&T sought help convincing customers just how long they had been a true part of the fabric of the community. So, AT&T came to us for help demonstrating this fact in a video they could show to other businesses and the chamber and at conferences in making local sales pitches.