CAMPAIGN: BT enrols ex-Dr Who star in launch of text service

In 2006 BT launched former Dr Who and voice of Little Britain Tom Baker as the voice of BT text.

Campaign Text Aid
Client BT
PR Team Fishburn Hedges
Timescale December 2006-January 2007
Budget Undisclosed

During a three-month promotion, all text-to-landline messages were spoken with Baker’s voice, creating mainstream awareness of the service. BT wanted to build on the success of this with a further campaign over the Christmas season.

To boost usage and awareness of BT text services. To position BT as a technical innovator. To raise £100,000 for homeless charity Shelter over the Christmas period.

Strategy and plan
The initial campaign captured the imagination of the general public and the media, generating particular interest among Tom Baker fans and bloggers.

It was decided to ‘bring Baker back,’ with Text Aid, a fundraising initiative centred on the BT Text service. BT committed itself to donating 20 per cent for all texts sent to and from landlines to charity during the Christmas period. Shelter was identified as the ideal recipient, as homelessness issues are at the fore during the winter months, and the charity had celebrated its 40th birthday in November 2006.

To demonstrate BT’s commitment to innovation, the campaign was planned with a strong online focus.

Tom Baker fan and blogger Mark Murphy had used Baker’s BT Text voice earlier in the year by sending text messages to himself to create songs on his site.

Murphy was approached to create a charity track. Fishburn Hedges negotiated with music labels, publishers and online news feeds to obtain clearance rights for Murphy to produce a remixed version of the Kinks’ classic You Really Got Me.

Track samples were issued as a viral, along with gift boxes of Kinks paraphernalia to London-based DJs and web links to press journalists. The track was also sold online through ­Indie Store, iTunes, Napster and HMV, with all of BT’s proceeds going to Shelter.

Dr Who fans Goldie Lookin’ Chain, Welsh hiphop collective who had ­admired the original BT campaign and previously worked with Shelter. The group was brought on board for a radio day with national and regional stations.

Profile slots were set up with Murphy, as well as exclusive interviews with Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s ‘Maggot’ to capitalise on his Celebrity Big Brother notoriety. This was followed with a news release to print and online media to mark the sale date of the single, including Tom Baker, Goldie Lookin’ Chain and Kinks-related blogs and fansites.

BT created a microsite, and teamed up with Shelter to piggyback the campaign on its annual story reporting on the number of people who would be homeless on Christmas day.

Measurement and Evaluation
According to Metrica, the campaign garnered 189 items of coverage.

Traditional media included the Daily Mirror, Daily Star, The Sun, The Guardian, 45 regional titles and 28 radio stations. Chat about the track and the BT Text service featured on more than 60 blogs and fan sites. The BT microsite attracted 27,000 page views and a fan’s self-made video version of the track on YouTube received over 1,400 hits.

Text Aid boosted text usage by 14 per cent compared with the previous month and raised over £190,000 for Shelter.

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