NEWS: BT budget up pounds 25m to fight rivals

BT is investing a massive 50 per cent extra in its pounds 50 million annual flagship consumer advertising activity in a bid to defend its corner from the cable telephone industry’s onslaught on domestic telephone subscriptions.

BT is investing a massive 50 per cent extra in its pounds 50 million

annual flagship consumer advertising activity in a bid to defend its

corner from the cable telephone industry’s onslaught on domestic

telephone subscriptions.



The move is designed to counter the pounds 12 million generic

advertising blitz unveiled through J. Walter Thompson for the Cable

Communications Association, starring Dawn French (Campaign, last week),

and a forthcoming campaign for AT&T through McCann-Erickson.



The announcement precedes BT’s new campaign, to be launched in April

through Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, that initiates a change in marketing

strategy. The company is moving from promoting the ‘it’s good to talk’

tactic to pushing specific services. However, it will continue to use

Bob Hoskins to front the advertising for the foreseeable future, despite

recent negative press reports.



The first leg of the campaign promotes the ‘family and friends’

facility, where consumers can use a cheaper service for five numbers

they regularly dial. Further executions are likely to include the 1471

service, which enables consumers to discover the identity of the last

person who dialled, and also call them back by dialling a single digit.

This service has just been added, but not yet promoted to the customer.



Charlotte Pinder, BT’s head of marketing communications, said that BT

had been underpromoting itself.



‘BT has been hiding its light under a bushel,’ she said. ‘We are

entering a highly competitive environment, yet we are not telling people

about all the services we offer.’



BT’s recent advertising, which features Hoskins, has concentrated on

challenging the common belief that telephone calls are expensive, while

prices have decreased recently. It has also helped to increase the

number of calls made generally, thus expanding the market overall.



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