BT adds ‘magic’ touch with new ‘Be there’ ads

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The telecoms giant launched “Be there” last summer, and it was billed as an attempt to recapture the marketing success of BT’s long-running “It’s good to talk” campaign.

The first ad, “Buddy”, promoted BT’s Infinity Wi-Fi by featuring a young girl chasing her new pet bird all around her home while speaking to her grandfather in the Caribbean by video chat on a tablet. The second, for BT Sport, showed England footballer Dele Alli moving through scenes from a number of sports.

BT has now launched the first in a trilogy of ads focusing respectively on the “wonders of technology” that enable consumers to communicate; the brand’s new “home-centric” converged services package, BT Plus; and its portfolio of sports broadcast rights.

Each ad will be built around a device to symbolise the “magic of what BT brings” its customers. The first ad, “Moments”, uses the visual metaphor of paper aeroplanes for human connection to the soundtrack of classic Madness hit It Must Be Love, while it is understood the second ad will be more musical in theme.

The TV spot, by Abbott Media Vickers BBDO, breaks tomorrow evening (18 May) on ITV. It was written by Diccon Driver, art directed by Alan Wilson, and directed by Frederic Planchon through Academy Films. 

The campaign will also feature OOH, cinema, online video and social media activity. Media planning and buying was by Essence.

Commenting on the new approach, BT’s chief brand and marketing officer Zaid Al-Qassab told Campaign: “The core of ‘Be There’ is going back to our roots as a company that understands our customers brilliantly and helps them to get closer to what really matters in their lives.

“What we’ve done in the new campaign is we’ve started to add a touch of magic, to show the wonders of technology and how that is an important part of what we provide.”

It comes after a difficult period for BT, after group chief executive Gavin Patterson announced plans to cut 13,000 jobs over the coming three years in an effort to save £1.5bn.

While unwilling to discuss the restructure, Al-Qassab insisted the company will continue to invest in marketing: “BT as a group is committed to three strong brands and marketing all three strong brands very effectively, and that is not going to change.”

BT brand strategy

On a consumer and residential business level, BT is boosting its efforts to provide a seamless “omnichannel experience”, with a newly-relaunched BT.com homepage, all call centres being relocated to the UK and Ireland, and BT-branded concessions introduced into EE’s chain to 620 UK high street stores.

With an average customer age nearly 20 years older than that of EE, BT is increasingly focused on proving its service credentials to family-oriented consumers, said Pete Oliver, BT’s managing director, sales and marketing: “Service has not always been as good as it needed to be for BT, and that is recognised very much within the company.

“[BT customers] are at a different stage of their lives. They are generally more focused on reliability, whereas EE customers are more focused on having the latest iPhone and so on. We’ve been able to come to a very clear segmentation for all three brands. We think that will allow us to cover more of the market,” he said.

Oliver added that BT, EE and Plusnet teams would continue to select their own agencies aside from media, which is consolidated with Essence. While some back-office efficiencies and skill sharing makes sense, he insisted each brand would continue to operate with its own dedicated marketing resource.

“We have leads for each brand, it’s a brand-focus rather than a product-focus.”

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