Media: Strategy of the Week - Talk Talk sponsorship to exploit Big Brother buzz

The campaign will use any chance to get the message across, Claire Billings says It's only fitting that, following its decision to assault BT with its new Talk Talk fixed-line telephony service, Carphone Warehouse would use an equally ballsy marketing strategy to back it up.

The service, which rolled out on 1 April, offers free calls to other Talk Talk subscribers, and claims to be 30 per cent cheaper than BT on calls to other networks.

The supporting marketing activity explains the product's price structure and encourages customers to tell their friends and family about it.

Advertising, through Clemmow Hornby Inge, runs across TV, radio and posters, backed by direct marketing to existing customers and prospects.

The TV ads show people paying money every time they speak to each other in everyday face-to-face situations. Gradually, they realise they don't have to cough up for each conversation and begin to spread the good news.

A second stage of the launch activity is based around the sponsorship of Big Brother - brokered by Carphone Warehouse's media agency, Matters Media. The media strategy to support the sponsorship is through Naked Inside.

"Our aim is to become the number-one alternative to BT. The Big Brother sponsorship allows us to continue the momentum begun by the ad campaign," Tristia Clarke, the marketing director of Carphone Warehouse, says.

Big Brother Five breaks on 28 May and runs for ten weeks and, while ratings have declined in recent years, it is still one of the biggest event programmes on UK television. Last year's series, which was slammed for being boring, still managed to pull in peak audiences of ten million.

The strategy will look to exploit the link between the buzz that a reality TV show such as Big Brother creates and Talk Talk as a medium through which people can chat about the show.

As well as building awareness using idents, ads in breaks and a web presence, Carphone Warehouse will also aim to wring out every available media opportunity to communicate its message.

The show's format lends itself well to a phone company, because of the voting element, much of which is done over the phone.

Tim Allnutt, a partner at Naked Inside, says: "It's a natural fit with Talk Talk, as the majority of votes are made via a landline."

The previous sponsor, O2, used its sponsorship to test new technology such as video messaging.

However, Carphone Warehouse's message is more about demonstrating the benefits of Talk Talk and engaging the public interest.

Promotional activity, through Heresy, is a key part of the strategy.

Stores will carry Big Brother promotions and staff will be offered the chance to go to eviction nights.

"Staff in shops are really motivated because they are the type of people who enjoy Big Brother," Allnutt says.

The company will also emphasise the service's ties with Big Brother by using PR, through Freud Communications, and direct marketing in the towns where the show's contestants live.

Talk Talk will hope that its aggressive determination to use every channel to communicate the brand's message will be matched by a more compelling offering from Channel 4.

Client: Talk Talk (Carphone Warehouse)

Agencies: Matters Media, Naked Inside, Clemmow Hornby Inge, Heresy,

Freud Communications

Media used: TV, online, radio, direct mail, in-store, promotions

Media idea: Link Talk Talk with Big Brother to provide awareness and a

natural fit with the Talk Talk service offering via telephone voting

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