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
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.