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The 1999 Nortel campaign is another campaign designed to brand a corporation.

Nortel, formerly Northern Telecom, is a Canadian company that has emerged as the number two internet infrastructure firm in the world. Like Cisco, MCI/WorldCom, Intel, and First Union, Nortel's campaign is designed to establish an emotional feel rather than factual information about the company and what it does. Instead, these campaigns seek to establish corporate sign value -- a logo which is recognizable and seems to stand for something.

The construction of a corporate sign is easily deconstructed in order to reveal how it works. What it means, however, is another matter that we will return to in a few moments. First, let's look at how an advertiser constructs an attempt at sign value. Of course, no sign value can be realized unless it recognized and stamped (validated) by the viewer her/himself. The advertiser begins by fashioning a connection between two meaning systems -- usually in the form of an equivalency and sometimes by means of implied causation. The Lucent campaign is the most straightforward sign campaign undertaken by any of the new power players in the communications technology sector. Their campaign presents elaborate visual flows of the company logo. Always circular in form, the Lucent symbol presents possibilities for endless visual puns. In this case, the pun is the connecting device.

In this Lucent ad for example, the Lucent symbol is on business cards which have been arranged in wheels to convey the circles of time in clicking clocks, clocks based on intermeshing gears to evoke the meaning of technological precision unifying global cities. Always red and white against a bluish-white backdrop, the Lucent advertising strategy is simple and direct, a modest moment of conceptual art that seeks to associate the idea that we can make your networks run better -- "We make the things that make communication work" -- with the red circle. The symbol is designed to designate Lucent Technologies.

If you could have someone plan, design, build, operate, manage and maintain your communications network
Around the clock
Around the world
Wouldn't you?
Presenting Lucent Technologies Netcare
If you haven't thought about a better way to manage your network
it's time.
Lucent Technologies
We make the things that make communications work"

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Robert Goldman, Stephen Papson, Noah Kersey