CAMPAIGNS: CWC gets attack of yellow fever - Launch PR

Cable and Wireless Communications floated on the Stock Exchange in April this year following the merger of telecommunications provider Mercury Communications and three cable companies Nynex CableComms, Bell Cablemedia and Videotron. The merged company, CWC, is the largest integrated communications, information and entertainment services company and wanted to make an innovative start, countering the poor customer service reputation of the cable industry.

Cable and Wireless Communications floated on the Stock Exchange in

April this year following the merger of telecommunications provider

Mercury Communications and three cable companies Nynex CableComms, Bell

Cablemedia and Videotron. The merged company, CWC, is the largest

integrated communications, information and entertainment services

company and wanted to make an innovative start, countering the poor

customer service reputation of the cable industry.



Objective



Before deciding its own focus, CWC carried out an in-depth survey to ask

consumers their views on possible services for their homes and

offices.



This would also position CWC as a listening, consumer-orientated

company, differentiating it from the traditional aggressive selling

approach of competitors and educating consumers about potential

services.



Tactics



The pounds 50 million ’yellow’ advertising campaign - which launched in

mid-September through ad agency Rapier Stead and Bowden - provided the

focal point for the campaign, inviting consumers to participate in the

largest survey undertaken into how we communicate.



This provided the springboard for the PR campaign and press material

echoed and amplified the theme of a listening company. A Communications

Council - comprising Jackie Cooper PR, Rapier Stead and Bowden, media

strategists Michaelides and Bednash and the marketing team at CWC - met

weekly to co-ordinate the direction and tone of the campaign.



Jackie Cooper PR oversaw the placing of all stories into national,

regional, business, marketing, trade press, TV and radio. It created a

raft of story opportunities ranging from interviews with CWC’s chief

executive, Graham Wallace, and director of brand communications, Helen

Burt, to softer pieces on the making of the TV advertisements.



The agency’s founding partner and image director, Jackie Cooper

describes the campaign as the ’chocolate fudge cake method of PR’ with

multi-layers from the harder business, City and trade press through to

softer feature and tabloid layers. Further plans to progress the

campaign include community-based stunts like bringing celebrities into

peoples’ homes and the highlighting of new services such as interactive

multichannel TV.



Results



The booking of entire colour advertising capacity of the national press

and four separate TV advertisements generated widespread editorial

coverage.



There was at least one article in every broadsheet, features in the

tabloids, substantial coverage in the weekend and marketing press and

interviews with Graham Wallace and Helen Burt on TV and radio.



Ray Snoddy, the Times media editor, said: ’CWC is turning itself into

the public face of the cable industry and creating the generic campaign

the industry has long needed.’



Verdict



A cynic might say that this advertising blitz was bound to garner

editorial coverage - but at times the campaign itself appeared to have a

higher profile than the brand. However, it was the ’What can we do for

you?’ angle that helped give better positioning for the brand by

switching from a hard sell to more humbly asking consumers what they

wanted.



Marketing commentator, George Pitcher, noted that in the context of the

Labour landslide and the public response to the death of Diana, Princess

of Wales, this campaign showed that it is now ’cool to care just as in

the 1980s it was cool to consume’.



However, it remains to be seen whether CWC can back up its promises of

being a ’listening’ company, while the City is yet to be convinced of

cable’s viability in the UK.



Client: Cable and Wireless Communications

PR Team: Jackie Cooper PR

Campaign: ’What Can We Do For You?’

Timescale: September 1997 to March 1998

Cost: pounds 400,000



Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Latest Articles

Growing number of clients plan PR budget increases

Growing number of clients plan PR budget increases

The number of marketers planning to increase their PR budgets during 2014 has climbed, according to the latest quarterly Bellwether survey by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations tomorrow

Max Clifford trial jury to continue deliberations tomorrow

The jury in the trial of celebrity publicist Max Clifford has been sent home after a second day of deliberations about its verdicts on 11 charges of indecent assault.

Champagne producer Charles Heidsieck appoints Story PR