TalkTalk suspends advertising and X Factor sponsorship after cyber hack

TalkTalk has suspended virtually all its above-the-line advertising, its X Factor sponsorship and has switched its messaging from sales to "reassurance" as it seeks to allay fears of existing customers in the wake of last week's cyber hack.

TalkTalk: X Factor idents by CHI & Partners
TalkTalk: X Factor idents by CHI & Partners

The telecoms company, ranked as Britain’s seventh biggest advertiser with an estimated £90 million-plus annual ad spend, has reinvested some of its internet search budget, known as pay-per-click (PPC), in public information messages about the status of the investigation into the data breach.

The top paid-for ad for a Google search on the word "TalkTalk" on Monday morning was a link to a TalkTalk company announcement about the "website attack affecting our customers".

The telecom provider, which has an estimated £10 million-a-year deal to sponsor The X Factor, dropped its sponsorship idents at the start and end of each commercial break on Saturday and Sunday (24 and 25 October).

TalkTalk said a decision about when to bring back its above-the-line advertising and its X Factor sponsorship would be taken later in the week.

This year's ident campaign, created by CHI & Partners, allows fans to star in their own music videos using an app that viewers can download.

A spokesman said: "People who would have been doing a lot of [marketing] work around The X Factor are focused on how we communicate with our existing customers and the wider public. ITV and the producers of The X Factor have been very supportive of our decision."

A source close to the company admitted that it expects to take a short-term hit on new customer acquisitions because it is suspending its marketing.

TalkTalk was Britain’s seventh biggest advertiser, according to Nielsen data published last year.


Subscribe to Campaign from just £57 per quarter

Includes the weekly magazine and quarterly Campaign IQ, plus unrestricted online access.


Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

1 PHD and ITV storm Media Week Awards

PHD reigned supreme at the 2016 Media Week Awards, after winning media agency of the year and the coveted Grand Prix for its work for Sainsbury's Christmas campaign, while ITV won sales team of the year.

Just published