NEWS: Walden stars in Abbott Mead BT blitz

Brian Walden, television’s grand inquisitor famous for his gruelling grillings of leading politicians, is the anchorman in an Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO campaign to make BT more attractive to businessmen.

Brian Walden, television’s grand inquisitor famous for his gruelling

grillings of leading politicians, is the anchorman in an Abbott Mead

Vickers BBDO campaign to make BT more attractive to businessmen.



The three 40-second films, which are Abbott Mead’s first work in the

tactical BT business campaign, break nationally on Sunday.



They feature Walden reporting from Blackpool, the White Cliffs of Dover

and from outside the Houses of Parliament as part of an effort to sweep

away what BT claims are huge misconceptions among business customers

about the price of calls.



Walden appeared in some rough films with which Abbott Mead won the pitch

for the business last autumn. BT marketing chiefs agreed to sign him

after studying research results.



Sholto Douglas-Home, BT’s advertising manager, said: ‘Walden works well

because of his high profile and because he is recognised as a thoroughly

professional and incisive interviewer. He’s absolutely right for talking

to the business market.’



The commercials were written by Tom Jenkins, art directed by Stuart

Baker and directed by Justin Cartwright, best known for his TV

documentary work.



Walden, who is contracted to BT for a year, insisted this week that his

first venture into advertising had not compromised his journalistic

integrity. He also declined to say how much he was paid for the

commercials but said he would be happy to do more if asked.



‘AT&T is prepared to join battle with BT in Britain and one of the main

battlegrounds will be the business market,’ he said.



‘You can call me old-fashioned but I’m proud of the fact that the B in

BT stands for ‘British’.’



The commercials show Walden in conversation with business people about

the cost of telephone calls and putting the record straight when his

interviewees exaggerate their cost.



‘I never believed the campaign would compromise me,’ Walden added. ‘In

fact, it’s been intellectually intriguing because business people can

overestimate the cost of BT calls by as much as 800 per cent.’



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