Bars a plenty for mobile phone companies

This badlander is a confusing story. Bars seem to be a very common theme in mobile communications. And there's evidence that either these ads are all being influenced by one international company, GSM, or if Cingular and Telefonica are just copying concepts.

Read on for more...

Before the big AT&T/Cingular merger there were ads like this one for AT&T Wireless with blue bars above people's heads.

Then afterwards, Cingular begin a big campaign by BBDO all about the bars. And even Cingular's tagline changed to "raising the bar."

And back in December some of the Cingular billboards were causing a sitr because there were a few who thought that the bars breaking through the top of the billboard looked like towers exploding.

Recently, I came across these images in Archive (vol 1/05) and immediately thought of Cingular's campaign.

Now before I posted this, I attempted to do some background checking to see if there was some way in which Telefonica and Cingular were connected. As far as I could tell there was no direct link between the two companies, except for being a part of GSM. Although Cingular's ads don't really tout that so much. Even more amusing/confusing is that GSM's logo is, yup, bars.

Perhaps a fellow adgrunt can shed some light on this, because I'm just very confused.

I found that Cingular's parent company BellSouth was selling interests in Chile to Telefonica and in Mexico Cingular pulled out of an auction of cell- phone licenses which the article claims would "clear the way for America Movil SA and Telefonica SA, Latin America's largest cell-phone companies, to add capacity in Mexico and profit from a market that is growing 25 percent annually."

So now are you as confused as I am?

Of course, it's very possible there is some mandate from GSM about these bars. And if there is most likely they figure that those in the USA wouldn't be seeing the same ads as in Mexico, but considering that this can't be verified at the moment it does seem like it is a good badland contender.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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kurtberengeiger's picture

Not that I can provide a definite answer, but I would imagine that membership in the GSM Association