NEWS: BT drive tackles shortcomings in direct-response TV

British Telecom is set to address the controversial issue of calls lost in direct-response TV campaigns with a drive to target large users of its 0800 and 0345 numbers.

British Telecom is set to address the controversial issue of calls lost

in direct-response TV campaigns with a drive to target large users of

its 0800 and 0345 numbers.



The move was precipitated by a joint BT/Channel 4 study this summer that

revealed the scale of call loss through engaged lines or callers not

getting through.



One unnamed advertiser cited in the research ran a prime-time TV spot

that generated 1,200 live calls, while a staggering 54,000 calls went

unanswered. About 75 per cent of response to a DRTV ad comes in the

first 15 minutes after the spot goes on air.



The research also revealed the astonishing growth of the medium: 19 per

cent of TV commercials now carry a phone number, which is 43 per cent up

on a similar 1993 survey.



The initiative will attempt to address some of the specific problems

leading to call loss, including insufficient involvement of call-

handling bureaux in the creation of DRTV ads. A direct marketing

campaign, targeting heavy DRTV advertisers, is set to break imminently.



Howard Sandom, head of telemarketing communications at BT, who is co-

ordinating the scheme, said: ‘Telephone handling is too rarely part of

the original agency brief. The account planner still needs to sit down

more often with the call handler at brief stage.’



He added: ‘If clients put a phone number on screen for more than ten

seconds, they stand a threefold chance of getting a response.’



Large-scale users of BT’s 0800 and 0345 numbers include Freemans, First

Direct, Racing Green, Next Directory and the Royal Bank of Scotland.



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