BT Payphone Kiosk Karaoke Competition
Band and Brown Communications
Under pressure from the rise in mobile phone use, BT wanted a campaign that would underline its payphones' positioning as an essential and relevant part of UK street life.
The campaign also needed to stimulate calls from payphones and add value to the company's backing of the Message Home Helpline which was set up to allow runaways to send a message to their families and to seek confidential advice.
The agency decided to devise a campaign in which members of the public could become 'stars for a day', by capitalising on the popularity of karaoke. Band and Brown launched a competition to find 'the nation's best bathtime singers', with the idea of recording a special version of the Culture Club hit Karma Chameleon with singer Boy George, at Abbey Road studios.
The initiative was designed to support the Message Home service, tying in with Boy George's support for charities that work with the homeless, as well as using the singer's position as a national icon to help generate a similar affection for the BT payphone.
Entrants were invited to sing 30 seconds of their favourite song down a BT payphone. From 18,000 entrants, 450 were selected to take part in ten regional heats. Music industry experts picked out 100 winners who were invited to make the record.
It was released in January 2000, but could only be heard by dialing in from one of BT's 141,000 pay phones.
For every call made the company made a donation to Message Home. The campaign generated 400 pieces of coverage, and news reports on all the major television stations about the Abbey Road recording session. Message Home recorded a 300 per cent increase in calls between the launch of the promotion and February 2000.
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The National Magazine Company
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Cohn and Wolfe
Grant Butler Coomber.