IPR Excellence Awards: Winner - CSR - BT partners ChildLine to boost CSR reputation

Campaign: Am I listening?

Client: BT

PR Team: Sinclair Mason/in-house/Corporate Culture

Timescale: January-December 2003

Budget: Around £100,000

After MORI research revealed BT's corporate social responsibility (CSR) reputation had plateaued, the telecoms giant hired Sinclair Mason and Corporate Culture to revamp its CSR activities. Assessment of key stakeholders indicated that a campaign linking communication and young people would be popular with employees and customers.

It decided to help ChildLine to improve its comms - lack of funds meant around 2,200 people failed to get through to the helpline every day.


To improve BT's CSR reputation by raising money for ChildLine. To ensure at least 75 per cent of BT employees were aware of the campaign.

Strategy and Plan

The team researched the relationship between children and communication and found that only 47 per cent of young people felt they were being listened to. This result was used to create discussion among opinion formers about the theme 'Am I listening?' six months before the campaign launch.

To attract coverage, the team asked pop star Rachel Stevens and 365 children to help break the record for the world's largest whisper. To involve customers and employees in the fundraising process, BT said it would donate £1 for every customer who signed up to its free 1571 answering service and conducted consumer surveys, donating £1 for every survey returned.

ChildLine co-founder Esther Rantzen agreed to publicise the fundraising opportunities in media interviews about the campaign's issues. ChildLine representatives visited BT call centres to persuade BT employees to get more customers to sign up to 1571. To keep up momentum throughout the campaign, the team arranged photoshoots with celebrities bathing in money to symbolise how much cash had been raised.

Further activity included a competition with media partner Newsround to find a young person's voice to be the Speaking Clock.

Measurement and Evaluation

According to media evaluation agency Impacon, the campaign has achieved more than 1,200 items of coverage and 212,249,000 weighted opportunities to see in national and regional media.


MORI research found that the public's spontaneous recall of BT's association with ChildLine has reached 47 per cent and £2.5m was raised for ChildLine.

'Sinclair Mason was very structured in its planning and kept on top of things throughout the campaign,' says freelance journalist Sarah Ewing.

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