Over the past decade, SBC has spent hundreds of millions of dollars establishing the Cingular Wireless brand name, billions more buying AT&T Wireless, switching all their customers over to Cingular, and dropping the AT&T Wireless brand. Then, when they bought the rest of AT&T as well as Bell South, and for reasons known only to some marketing genius deep in the bowels of the company, they threw away all that investment and decided to drop the Cingular brand and switch the cellular service back to AT&T.

What does any of this have to do with cars you might ask? Well it goes back to 2003 when Nextel stepped in to replace Winston as the title sponsor of NASCARs top series. Nextel didn't want their investment diluted by the presence of competitors on the cars. Cingular and Alltel were both sponsoring cars at the time and were allowed to maintain that sponsorship as long as they didn't expand it or switch teams. Of course since the Cingular brand is going away, AT&T would like to change the branding on the Richard Childress Racing #31 car and therein lies the rub. NASCAR wants to block the change to the new old new branding and AT&T is suing NASCAR to make it happen. Remember when there was once a time when racing was about who got get the finish line the fastest instead of about which company got the most screen time and mentions from commentators and drivers?

[Source: Advertising Age]

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