ET to front all new advertising for BT

ET, Steven Spielberg’s human-friendly alien, is to be the new face of BT as the company attempts to lead millions of customers through the communications revolution.

ET, Steven Spielberg’s human-friendly alien, is to be the new face

of BT as the company attempts to lead millions of customers through the

communications revolution.



The star of the sixth-largest movie money-spinner of all time will front

all the corporation’s mass-market advertising - following in the steps

of celebrities like Bob Hoskins - as the ’it’s good to talk’ line is

consigned to history.



Customers will now be exhorted to ’stay in touch’ with each other, not

only through more frequent use of the phone but via the internet and

BT’s other leading-edge communications technology.



Recruiting ET was the idea of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO and was a major

factor in the agency’s successful thwarting of the odds to retain the

lion’s share of Britain’s biggest-spending account (Campaign, 19

February).



The alien will make his debut in a series of teaser TV commercials and

posters on Sunday, to be followed by a 60-second blockbuster film next

month.



Tim Evans, BT’s head of UK marketing communications, said ET had been

chosen not only because he had one of the world’s most famous faces but

to make people less fearful of the advances in communication.



’We want ET to show how easy the technology is to use,’ he said. ’If ET

can use it, anybody can. He brings out the child in all of us.’



ET was only signed after weeks of tough negotiations between AMV and

lawyers acting for Universal Studios and Spielberg’s Amblin

Entertainment. The deal includes an undertaking not to interfere with

the character’s integrity and Spielberg was due to see the Paul

Weiland-directed commercials for the first time this week.



Evans would not say how much BT had paid for the rights but claimed the

fees were not excessive given that the character would be featured

across all the corporation’s mass-market promotions from mailshots to

sales promotion and education programmes for schools.



The TV campaign will unfold the story of ET’s return to earth and the

renewal of his contact with humans. BT executives were worried the

character, who first appeared in 1982, would be seen as old-fashioned

and childish. But they decided to push ahead when research confirmed the

alien’s timeless popularity.



Meanwhile, AMV hopes to extend ET into a global campaign which will

cement a relationship between BBDO and the joint ventures of BT and AT&T

across the world.



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).