How many campaigns addressing the youth market make you wince with
embarrassment? Campaigns created by clients and agencies who believe
they understand the ’yoof’ of today, but who turn out work that’s as
about as convincing as your dad at a disco.
BT recognises the slender distinction between getting it wrong and the
dream marketing coup. Why so? Because no other audience can so
unerringly spot an impostor a mile away. But, equally, no other audience
embraces the revolution in the communications market so
The explosion in mobile ownership following the introduction of pre-pay
packages like Cellnet ’U’, the mass adoption of e-mail as a
communication medium and the use of the internet as an educational and a
social tool are all indications of the role communication plays in young
lives. Young people devour new technology in ways that put previous
generations to shame, and use communications to help cram as much
experience as possible into the limited confines of a 24-hour day.
But young people are not only BT’s future - they are also our here and
now, entering the communications world from many different angles.
That’s why, as a company, we want to lead the communications pack with a
far-sighted portfolio of products and services to meet and predict their
We must target young people because so many of the products we supply,
from mobile telephony and free e-mail addresses to digital phonelines
that speed up internet access, suit their requirements. And - the good
news for us - our research tells us this audience feels reassured by the
scale and reliability that BT offers. That it is a brand and a service
they can trust. So - an audience that trusts us and welcomes what we
What a prospect. And what a communications challenge.
The reality is that, until now, BT, like many established brands, has
skirted round this audience. It is vital that we now engage them
directly by demonstrating both our understanding of them and how our
products can help them to a better life. Agency ’yoof’ credentials are
full of examples of big brands that have got it wrong, who have failed
to treat this audience with the respect and the focus it demands. We
will not become one of those case studies.
Instead, we are developing a dedicated marketing programme and have
deliberately separated youth out from our mass business. Together with
St Luke’s, we are creating an integrated programme of activity that will
help us to build relevant relationships with a youthful audience that
will benefit us and them today, tomorrow and into the future.
It is a challenge that we take on with relish and with the clear vision
that this is so much more than just an extension to our core activity.
And to meet that challenge we are ready to make whatever changes we need
to the way we think and the way we do things. Marketing communications
in the youth sector may never be the same again. Watch this space.