Campaign: Mall roadshow boosts BT's The Phone Book - Consumer PR

Client: The Phone Book from BT

PR team: Band & Brown Communications

Campaign: Living by the Book

Timescale: Ongoing from April 2004

Budget: Under £120,000

In 2003 The Phone Book from BT decided to change its traditional format into a three-way listing of A-Z residential and business with a new classifieds section. Band & Brown Communications was hired to position it as a rival to Yellow Pages and Thomson Local. Objectives

To generate advertiser interest in The Phone Book by raising consumer brand awareness. To boost its market share.

Strategy and Plan

Band & Brown devised a roadshow entitled 'Living by the Book' to establish The Phone Book as the only directory needed to survive in the 21st century. In each of the nine UK cities visited, two locals spent five days in a 2.5m Perspex box, armed with nothing but a phone, The Phone Book and £1,500. After a series of tasks, the winners got to keep their purchases, with the rest being given to charity.

The Phone Book from BT identified people aged over 25 as its target audience, being more likely to use the directory for services associated with moving house, getting married and having babies. The team, therefore, located the roadshow in an environment that would be popular with this audience - shopping centres. The campaign formed partnerships with local radio stations that also fitted the audience profile, generating interest in the roadshow and product through talk-ups and live broadcasts.

Later, Band & Brown was asked to create a London finale, which it formed with Capital FM. Celebrities Voices with Soul from The X-Factor show and Hollyoaks actress Joanna Taylor were asked to compete in the box.

Throughout the roadshow, large regional newspapers were encouraged to feature the campaign, with some pitting support for one contestant against the other. Local television news stations were also targeted.

Measurement and Evaluation

In total, the campaign achieved 80 pieces of national and regional press coverage and eight TV broadcasts. Coverage included Metro, London Today, The Glasgow Evening Times, The Sunday Sun, Birmingham Evening Mail, Bolton Evening News, Sheffield Star, Bristol Evening Post, Reading Evening Post, Southern Daily Echo, BBC West Midlands and ITV Meridian.


Since April 2004, The Phone Book's share of the directory market has almost doubled from six to ten per cent. The performance of the sales team has also improved month on month.

'I can't remember a promotion that has had so much exposure across the whole station,' says Capital FM presenter James Cannon.

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