BT chief executive Sir Peter Bonfield recently announced a radical
revamp of the company, claiming it will be the biggest reorganisation
since BT left public-sector ownership. The move splits the business into
six separate entities: the wholesale and retail fixed-line arm; the
Concert alliance with AT&T; a global data business called Ignite;
Openworld, a mass-market internet provider; BT Wireless; and Yell, the
yellow pages and e-commerce division.
Agencies BT’s creative agencies are Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, AMV
Advanced, Leo Burnett and AV Browne. Media buying is handled by Zenith
Media, the Allmond Partnership and AV Browne. The last two agencies,
along with New PHD, also take care of planning.
Total spend and media mix BT (including BT Cellnet) is the UK’s
second-biggest advertiser after Procter & Gamble, spending a massive
pounds 135.2 million in the year to February 2000. Almost half of BT’s
advertising spend goes on TV, followed by press, radio, direct mail and
BT advertises a large number of services and brands, and its latest
campaigns have focused on reconnection, BT Internet, BT Together and
The busiest advertising months in 1999 were November, May and July, and
there was activity across all media in every month except for December
1999, when there was no cinema work.
Television accounted for almost 50 per cent of the total adspend.
Newspapers and magazines picked up pounds 28.6 million, or a 21.2 per
cent share. The rest of BT’s budget was spread across radio (9.4 per
cent), direct mail (8.5 per cent), outdoor (7.6 per cent) and cinema
(3.5 per cent).
Spend details BT aims its advertising at the mass market while
simultaneously combating regional competition from cable companies. In
1999, its large national campaigns were underpinned by extensive
regional press and direct mail drives. For example, although national
daily and weekend publications accounted for 83 per cent of total press
spend, BT placed ads in 279 titles over the past year, including 95
regional titles - far more than most other UK advertisers. BT’s TV
advertising in 1999 was spread across 63 terrestrial and 63 Astra
channels.The most popular were LWT, Central, Meridian, Carlton and
Conclusions BT’s recent structural changes are designed to strengthen
its position in the key growth areas of broadband, consumer, internet
and mobile, and to create the global platform needed to survive in a
Some commentators think the moves are a precursor to a break-up of BT
into a number of fully independent quoted companies, which will be free
to pursue their own brand and product strategies. If this happens, we
can expect to see dramatic changes to the company’s advertising and
Research by AC Nielsen MMS tel: 01344-627553 www.mediamonitoring.com.