BT and Yahoo! joined forces in June this year and have extended and enhanced the BT Openworld service to become what they claim is one of the UK's most advanced internet services. Content, provided by Yahoo!, includes interactive gaming, super webcam and a radio service that anticipates users' preferences.
The challenge for the newly appointed creative agency, Clemmow Hornby Inge, was to showcase the claim that the two major players had come together to do something totally different.
Its real hurdle was to break through the heavily commoditised internet service provider market. Neil Goodlad, a senior planner at CHI, says: "From a consumer perspective, ISPs such as BT and AOL all offer much of a muchness and it just comes down to speed and price. We wanted to break the rules of the market and to give people a reason to switch ISPs, beyond the price."
In consumer research, CHI and BT (which paid for and managed all the marketing) identified what could make this breakthrough. "As expected, we found that people do see the internet as being empowering and exciting but we also realised that they find it very frustrating and that in some ways it hasn't lived up to all that was promised," Jo Smith, an account director at CHI, says.
This consumer insight drove the campaign's strategy, which tries to tap into the excitement that initially surrounded the internet. It compares this with the dissatisfaction of reality and then cuts to BT Yahoo!'s service, which claims to make the internet work for people in exciting and personal new ways.
The ad campaign launched on 9 September with television spots on terrestrial and satellite channels and press ads in all the quality and mid-market nationals as well as across the IT press.
The Allmond Partnership bought the television ads, Starcom Motive bought the press and media planning was by PHD. The campaign will run over the next seven months, stepping up in November for the launch of BT Yahoo!'s narrowband package.
Two Los Angeles students, Jimmy and Micky, are the figureheads of the campaign, and are shown in 1969 as the inventors of an "inter-network", dreaming of perfecting it. The campaign endline, "The way the internet was meant to be", shows how BT and Yahoo! have attempted to realise this dream, giving the message that this ISP is fast and easy, like the others, but goes one step further with a more personalised service.
Different executions will bring key features of the package to life focusing on, for example, personalisation, security and the soon-to-be-launched music service.
Theadvertising is supported by an integrated online campaign created by Digitas and bought by i-level. This uses the same positioning as the offline activity but spotlights various demonstrations of the service to make the experience more tangible for users.
"This media mix was chosen as one which would reach the most appropriate people in the most effective way," Jo Baxter, the programme director at BT Yahoo! services, says.
BT's 2002 "Broadband has landed" campaign drove awareness levels up.
Clare Goodlad, the media group manager of PHD, says: "This is a mass product of interest to a mass market and a wide target group had to be reached." Goodlad says that national reach was important and that this was provided by press advertising with more information in the TV ads to give initial details to potential users.
Last year, BT pledged to sign five million households to broadband by March 2006. With more than one million down but still just under four million to go, it is pinning its hopes on the BT Yahoo! campaign to reach its target.