CONSUMER TECH CAMPAIGN: BT's Office Anywhere makes life a beach

Launched in April 2007, BT Business's Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone, Office Anywhere, gives users the functions of a Windows PC in a single device small enough to fit in the pocket.

Campaign: BT Business Urban Beach
Client: BT Business
PR Team: Fishburn Hedges
Timescale: July-August 2007
Budget: Undisclosed

Aimed primarily at small and medium-sized companies, it is designed to help workers stay in touch and be as productive when out and about as they would be at their desk.

Last summer, BT Business turned to its retained agency, Fishburn Hedges, to find an unusual promotional vehicle that would capture the imagination of its target audience.

To showcase the benefits of the smartphone to potential business customers and engage them with the product. To ensure the BT brand and key messages regarding business productivity and flexible working stood out in coverage.

To demonstrate the service in a live, interactive setting, Fishburn Hedges persuaded BT to become a co-sponsor of Urban Beach 2007 and take one of the main stands at the event.

Out of the office: picture desks were sent images of people 'working' on the beachComprising a man-made beach in Finsbury Square, complete with 300 tonnes of sand, palm trees and deckchairs, this week-long event featured live music, food courtesy of Jamie Oliver's Fifteen restaurant and mini-golf competitions to win an iPod.

Set in the heart of the City, it also provided a prime opportunity for BT to interact with business owners and managers responsible for choosing their company's IT and communications.

Two weeks before the event, the PR team briefed the news desks of all London and City publications, broadcast planning teams and the business and trade media about the event. This was backed by research showing 23 per cent of Londoners have lied about being in the office when they have been elsewhere. Meanwhile, photography for picture desks showed people in bowler hats and shorts working on the beach using the Office Anywhere device.

Paper and opt-in MMS flyers were designed for distribution at the event and activities were run on the beach each day between noon and 2.30pm to attract visitors during their lunch hour.

These activities included a fun 'Postcard from the Office', where attendees could have their photo taken on the beach pretending to work, and then email the image to their friends and colleagues.

Coverage highlights included the Evening Standard, London Lite, City AM, BBC London 94.9 and BBC London evening news. The Independent also ran a full page on the event, referencing BT. While the event had 10 main sponsors, according to in-house evaluation, BT Business was the only backer mentioned in all coverage, with The Independent, Evening Standard and London Lite all quoting BT as promoting flexible working.

BT is unable to say how many people came to its stand and took part in activities during the course of the week, but according to the organisers, 10,000 people attended the event.

Office Anywhere sales figures relating to the event are also unavailable, but BT reports 'a number of significant sales leads' from both individuals and corporate buyers of IT and communications services.

David Vindel, head of technology, Red Consultancy
Launching a new product is always tough; making it stand out in a crowded market is even harder. For this reason, creating an opportunity to demonstrate the service in a live, interactive environment can often give valuable media exposure to a recently launched product.

David VindelBy co-sponsoring Urban Beach 2007, BT had the opportunity to interact with potential buyers of the product, and demonstrate the benefits of the service through experiential marketing. The event also provided some context on how BT Office Anywhere can allow you to work on the move and increase productivity.

Clever use of paper and opt-in MMS flyers, as well as the 'Postcard from the Office' creative, also ensured the campaign had a viral element both via mobile and email, thereby increasing word of mouth.

Finally, the research findings, coupled with the pictures of people in bowler hats and shorts working on the beach using the device, really helped to place in context the product's benefits, as well as providing a nice visual.

While the 'work/life balance' issue may be a passe news hook, it nonetheless resonates with a business audience. Collectively all these campaign ingredients successfully captured the imagination of the target audience.

The mixture of broadcast and print media exposure demonstrates this campaign's success. The event helped to place the BT brand right at the forefront of flexible working, as well as making BT stand out from the other sponsors of the event.

The inability to measure and capture consumer interaction with the BT stand during the week, as well as the lack of sales data generated from the event, are the only two lessons to be learned on how this campaign could have been even stronger.

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