Campaign: Feng shui game sends shoppers to BT

Feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of object arrangement, improves a person's harm­ony with their environment(read on to see how Octane Communications employed the concept to help BT).

Campaign Fone shui
Client BT Home Communications
PR team In-house/Octane Communications
Timescale March-June 2006
Budget Undisclosed

Fone shui, meanwhile, is an online game ( created by Octane Communications to promote BT’s Zenith Flip home phone and BT Shop.

The game, designed to be spread as a viral, asks users to position household items – such as a fish tank, TV, sofa, pot plants and, of course, BT’s Zenith Flip phone – around a room. The purpose is to promote positive energy, or chi. When an object is dragged and dropped into the ‘correct’ position in the room, a message congratulates the user.

Place a picture on the wall, for example, and a speech bubble might say: ‘Ooh, well hung.’ Select an appropriate position for a vase of flowers and one is told: ‘Nice one, petal’ (see below).

The Zenith Flip – the first phone in BT’s next-generation range, is a ‘clam-shell-style’ home telephone designed to look like a mobile. It stores up to 200 numbers, accepts and sends SMS messages, and has an LCD screen.

Octane worked with BT’s in-house team for a viral launch campaign.

To create awareness of the Zenith Flip and BT Shop. To position BT as a supplier of innovative next-generation home phones.

Strategy and Plan
The team chose the viral approach in order to reach 25 to 35-year-olds via channels not traditionally used by BT Home Communications. The Fone shui URL was included in the monthly BT Shop direct mailer, and the game placed on for distribution by players. Anyone who played the game and successfully positioned the objects became eligible to enter a competition to win BT Zenith Flips and £500 worth of BT Shop vouchers.

A ‘send to friend’ function was added to the BT Shop direct mailer to encourage the viral element of the campaign. Links to the BT Shop were included throughout the game to highlight the sales outlet and generate consumer awareness.

Octane sent an email notification to various consumer media, and made follow-up calls to explain the game. The team placed a competition with the now-closed Daily Sport supplement Lads’ Mag in a bid to drive readers to the game.

Measurement and Evaluation
Fone shui was covered in high-street price-comparison websites theuk­, and, and was discussed in Yahoo! chatrooms and on viral aggregator site Website, which compares brand ethics and prices, also discussed the game.

There are no sales figures available for the Zenith Flip, but more than 7,500 unique users played Fone shui, 4,200 of whom were sent a link to the game via ‘send to a friend’ invitations. Some 2,220 users visited the BT Shop from the game.

BT reveals that 1,000 of the Shop visitors chose to sign up to future mailing activity. BT Retail PR manager Nancy Baynes says: ‘The game allowed us to communicate directly with potential customers via a channel not regularly explored by BT Shop.’

She adds: ‘This campaign not only generated sales leads and web traffic, but was a cute and measurable way to educate people about the product.’


Helen Holland (pictured), managing director, Chameleon PR

Achieving standout in the mobile phone market is tough. Some 70 mobile and smart phones are rated in the latest issue of the gadget magazine I have in front of me. All were launched in the past three months.

It all means that launching a product from a viral campaign alone was an extremely brave move by the client and agency. However, this campaign avoided the usual pitfall of retailers being forced to honour e-voucher codes originally sent to a registered few, but which have found their way into thousands of inboxes. Many big names on the high street were taken aback by the redemption rates they experienced in the weeks before Christmas.

By contrast, this campaign demonstrates the strengths of targeted viral as an involving way of launching to, and informing, potential customers. What’s more, it has the merit of channelling budget into one aim: registering new names.

The UK media tend to highlight the technical drawbacks of every phone released, even if they rate the model highly, and this campaign cleverly circumvented that, while demonstrating the breadth of BT’s product range in a novel way.

BT’s database will now include thousands of people who registered through Lads’ Mag, all of those sent links to the Fone shui game, and the 1,000 consumers who have signed up to the BT Shop mailer.

Not bad for a game.

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