Campaign: Burst Pipe
Agency: St Luke's
Principal authors: Phil Teer, St Luke's; Michele Danan, St Luke's; Dan
Goldstein, St Luke's; David Blackwell, BT
Media used: TV, interactive, direct marketing, print, PR, cinema, press,
When the voice telephony market was deregulated, it was inevitable that BT's core business would take a hit. The company had to look for new revenue streams, so it invested in the internet.
Eighteen months before the launch of Broadband, BT produced a brand campaign to bring the internet to life for the mass market. The campaign, using the line "More connections, more possibilities", signalled to customers, analysts, staff and the media that BT was expanding beyond telecoms.
But by the end of 2001, internet penetration was levelling out. Narrowband was slowing down the internet in every sense. According to McKinsey, one-third of our time online was spent waiting.
So BT had to persuade us to convert to broadband. Its creative strategy was to show that "broadband has landed" through a series of commercials showing that the content it would bring would be so rich that "the pipe would burst".
The aggressive media strategy produced one of the most concentrated bursts of TV activity in advertising history, supported by a flurry of other activity including outdoor, online and press. The campaign grew the broadband market by 15 per cent. It also increased BT's customer base by 300 per cent and bagged the company net revenues of £35.6 million and an incremental market value of £85 million.
The judges' view
BT's transformation as a business, and the UK's transformation into a knowledge economy, both hinged on the successful mass launch of broadband.
Eschewing a drip strategy for an audacious full-scale launch, BT grew the broadband market explosively. This paper measures the contribution of the campaign to BT's, and the market's, broadband revenue and profits.