New owners unveil new logo for AT&T

By Times Staff
Published November 22, 2005

The AT&T globe, with its steel blue swirl and whiff of worldliness, will live on.

SBC Communications completed its purchase of the struggling American corporate icon on Friday and will adopt the AT&T name as part of the deal. On Monday, the new AT&T unveiled a new logo that, it turns out, isn't so new.

The company will keep the blue globe as its basic motif. But it has transformed the stiff two-dimensional ball, which dates back to the breakup of the Bell system in 1984, into a three-dimensional orb. The new globe has an airy feel, and it will be able to spin slowly when posted on Web sites.

The company has also softened the colors hoping to give the 128-year-old AT&T name a facelift. The company ditched block letters for a curved, lower-case Avenir typeface to portray a kinder, gentler telecommunications behemoth.

The old logo "was very 1980s," said Karen Jennings, the senior executive vice president of human resources and communications, which oversees the company's advertising. "The lower-case face will signal that we're open and approachable."

Given all of the problems that the old AT&T had before it was acquired, some brand specialists said SBC should have dropped the AT&T name entirely. SBC could have continued promoting its name. Or it could have done what Bell Atlantic did when it acquired GTE: Rename the company entirely. The merged company became Verizon.

Still, Jennings said it would have been a waste to discard the AT&T name since it had become synonymous with phone service in the United States. All it needed was a clean coat of paint.

'06 Honda Civic grabs top honors from Motor Trend

Honda Civic, which in its latest incarnation offers drivers a more sleek and upscale take on the popular compact car, has claimed the honor of 2006 Car of the Year from Motor Trend magazine.

All four new Civic models - a sedan, a coupe, a high-performance model called the Si and a gasoline-electric hybrid - were given the award.

"Honda deserves a standing ovation for not playing it safe again," Motor Trend's editor in chief, Angus MacKenzie, said. "The engineering passion that Honda ... was founded on radiates from these new Civics."

"With their bold, contemporary styling and innovative technology, the new Civics are primed for success in one of the most competitive market segments in the country," Motor Trend said in its announcement.

Motor Trend picked its Car of the Year from a field of 28 new models, including the Audi A3, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac DTS, Chevrolet HHR, Dodge Charger, Ford Fusion, Mercedes-Benz R-Class, Pontiac Solstice, Toyota Avalon and the Volkswagen Jetta and Passat.

Expecting a holiday bonus? Maybe you shouldn't

About that holiday bonus: Don't hold your breath. Only 41 percent of employers plan to award them this year - and of those only 13 percent plan to give cash, according to a survey by Hewitt Associates, a benefits consulting firm. The rest of the 41 percent will give workers food or retail gift certificates, the survey found.

--Information from the New York Times, Associated Press and Bloomberg News was used in this report.