CAMPAIGNS: BT boxes clever with payphones - Rebranding

There are more than 137,000 BT payphones in the UK. PR activity for this division of BT had been carried out on an ad hoc basis using a roster of agencies. In June this year BT Payphones decided to make PR more cohesive and invited agencies to pitch. Both Band and Brown and QBO identified ’the Street’ as an appropriate campaign theme, prompting BT to give both agencies a slice of the business.

There are more than 137,000 BT payphones in the UK. PR activity for

this division of BT had been carried out on an ad hoc basis using a

roster of agencies. In June this year BT Payphones decided to make PR

more cohesive and invited agencies to pitch. Both Band and Brown and QBO

identified ’the Street’ as an appropriate campaign theme, prompting BT

to give both agencies a slice of the business.



Objective



To position BT Payphones as ’owning’ contemporary street life and create

a warm and fun image for the brand.



Tactics



Band and Brown and QBO initially worked together to make sure there

would be no duplication in terms of concepts and target audience.



Band and Brown concentrated on creating competitions in publications

aimed at target audiences. Following the success of its Poems in the

Payphone competition in 1996, it launched a poetry writing competition

in the Young Telegraph and targeted teachers and regional media to

encourage participation.



In July, readers of teen magazine Sugar were invited to write a short

script centring around a UK street scene and involving a BT Payphone,

with the prize of a holiday in Australia and a day on the set of TV soap

opera Neighbours. Other competitions planned include a script writing

competition in the Guardian during National Film Week in November and a

photography competition in style bible i-D magazine.



Sponsorship has been the other focus of Band and Brown’s work so

far.



In August, BT Payphones sponsored the British In-Line Skate

Championships at the National Exhibition Centre, and created an in-line

skating event in London at the end of October.



QBO’s first main project was to organise BT Payphones’ presence at the

Notting Hill Carnival. This included staffing ten information kiosks,

producing an advertorial in the carnival guide in the Big Issue and the

Guardian, and running regional competitions with prizes of a weekend at

the carnival.



In January QBO plans to launch Street Smart, a community street-cleaning

initiative with local councils.



Results



More than 300 entries had been received for the Sugar competition by

early October - an excellent response given the demanding mechanic.



There were 7,000 entries in the Poems in the Payphone competition

compared to 3,000 in 1996 and regional coverage stood at 105 cuttings by

late September compared to 92 last year. Many teachers used the

competition as the basis for a lesson on communications.



Sponsorship of the In-Line Skate Championships was covered on BBC

Newsround and there were six regional news items. Over 2,500 people

attended and BTP flyers were distributed in trendy shops. In-line

skating stars the Jagger Brothers signed autographs on the flyers.



London radio station News Direct carried an interview on BT Payphones’

involvement in the Notting Hill Carnival and there was a mention on

radio station Kiss FM. The competition for a weekend at the carnival

appeared in papers in Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Birmingham.



Verdict



A strong and pertinent theme has been developed for BT Payphones’ PR and

the agencies are to be praised for their creativity in thinking up

variations on the theme and making payphones interesting.



A number of different target audiences have been reached, but the

campaign could be criticised for being scattergun rather than having one

big idea.



One overall campaign might have had a greater impact on the national

consciousness.



Client: BT Payphones

PR Team: Band and Brown and Quentin Bell Organisation

Campaign: Street Life

Timescale: July 1997, ongoing

Cost: Around pounds 250,000



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