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Nortel Goes Online to Uncover Qualified Leads

Nortel Networks Ltd., a communications technology firm, is rolling out new global advertising to revitalize its brand in an economy that has taken a heavy toll on the telecommunications sector.

The print, online and outdoor media effort by ad agency Temerlin McClain, Dallas, is themed “Eliminate Boundaries.” It is a key element in the Brampton, Ontario, company's back-to-basics marketing approach as well as in shoring up market share from rivals like Cisco Systems and Avaya.

“It's been no secret in the past three years that the telecommunication sector has had a pretty rocky start, so we're at a point where we feel very positive,” said Bruce Horner, director of global branding and advertising for the Canadian giant. “The campaign is a critical piece in getting the news and brand out to customers.”

The effort targets chief executive, information and financial officers making decisions on IP data, voice and multimedia services — Nortel's bailiwick.

Ads will appear in business publications like The Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Fortune and trade publications like Network World and Information Week. Billboards will go up tactically in parts of Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia, and sporadically in Europe.

The “Eliminate Boundaries” theme is evident in the print ads.

Take this copy in a print ad: “There's a river. It runs through your entire company, changing the shape of everything in its path, connecting it from one end to another. A river that feeds into a sea of information, a river that propels you past obstacles, past limitations, past the competition, past what you thought was possible.”

But the online campaign is what's unique for Nortel. Its job is not just to brand, but offer leads as well. Creative banner units in rollover format use evocative images. Viewers are invited to dig deeper for more information through rollovers of all sizes and shapes.

“Not only can we be targeted and speak to individuals, but we can speak to more people,” Horner said.

The banners went live Sept. 17 on vertical sites like www.lightreading.com and www.telephony.com. They will extend to undecided publications' sites next month.

Consumers who roll the mouse over the units can click through to various options. They can download white papers, customer testimonials or product information or retrieve local sales contact details. The banners link to the site at www.nortelnetworks.com.

Even the print ads will mention the Nortel Web address. But Horner has no illusions of the tracking effectiveness of the print or outdoor ads. There is no unique code.

Not so with the banners. The company is actively seeking leads from inquiries. It will track the navigational pattern of visitors, time spent on the site and banners, movements and requests for more information. Nortel's sales department will work on the more self-qualified leads.

Temerlin used unique typefaces, bold headlines, engaging copy and supporting imagery to draw attention to the banners.

The “Eliminate Boundaries” theme is front and center of all ads. The idea is to convey the breadth of Nortel's products and services in wireless, fixed-line, optical and enterprise networks.

Horner has high expectations for the rollover banners. This is the first time Nortel has used such online ads, which will run into next year.

“The creative unit is designed to break through the clutter,” he said. “Our competitors advertise heavily, so we have to.”

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