Britain's BT mashes up Dickens and Stormzy as part of its biggest brand campaign in 20 years

Campaign led by Saatchi & Saatchi also includes a revamped identity and tagline 'Beyond Limits'

Published On
Oct 18, 2019

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Communications giant BT, one of the U.K.'s biggest companies and advertisers, unveils a major brand relaunch today that includes a revamped brand identity, advertising push and tagline, "Beyond Limits."

The move, the biggest brand campaign in 20 years for the company, comes as BT aims to highlight its role in the U.K.'s connectivity infrastucture and its investment in technology training for both kids and adults, and shift perceptions from it being just a broadband supplier or a landline company.

The revamp was led by new CEO Philip Jansen, who joined in February this year from Worldpay. BT appointed Publicis Groupe to handle the brand relaunch earlier this year, with Saatchi & Saatchi as lead agency. 

The company has a new, pared-down deep purple logo, replacing its previous "globe" identity which launched in 2003. It will be used in marketing along with a circular swish in a design known as the "Portal."  This was created by Publicis Groupe-owned Zag, while the advertising strategy was developed by Saatchi & Saatchi London. The launch spot features a little girl reciting the famous opening lines of Charles Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" to a soundtrack by grime artist Stormzy ("Blinded by your Grace Part 2"). It goes on to highlight the company's role in training five million school children in new technology. It was directed by Max Malkin at Prettybird. While the words reflect the conflicted times we live in, the message is one of optimism, says Saatchi & Saatchi global president Magnus Djaba.

Other elements of the launch campaign include an experiential OOH activation that will be unveiled in the center of London's Piccadilly Circus. During the school half-term break, children will get involved in the campaign’s creative, developing their very own avatars using code. These avatars will then light up on a Piccadilly Circus billboard.

Other print and OOH campaign elements shine a light on the efforts of BT’s people with headlines such as “BT answers 30 million 999 calls per year” and “We prevent 4,000 cyber attacks daily to keep your data safe.”  The external effort to get these messages across is accompanied by a major internal comms push, which has already kicked off. "Internally as well as externally, we found that people didn't know what the company really did," says BT group brand director Peter Jeavons. 

Over this weekend, BT will run a takeover of broadcaster ITV's own brand idents, with new versions created by schoolchildren using coding robots. The deal was brokered by BT's media buying agency Essence and developed in collaboration with ITV Creative. 

To launch the campaign, BT also held an event last night during which schoolchildren engineered a world record-breaking drone performance, with 160 drones flying together at Wembley Arena. 

Credits

Date
Oct 18, 2019
Client:
BT
Agency:
Saatchi & Saatchi-London
Director Marketing Communications:
Pete Jeavons
Group Head of Brand Marketing:
Alice Tendler
Brand Marketing Lead:
Andrew Ridler
Brand Manager:
Jo Trimmings
Global President:
Magnus Djaba
Chief Creative Officer:
Guillermo Vega
Creative Director:
Ben Beazley
Copywriter/Art Director:
Antony Goldstein
Copywriter/Art Director:
William Brookwell
Copywriter/Art Director:
William Helm
Copywriter/Art Director:
Ryan Price
Chairman & Chief Strategy Officer:
Richard Huntington
Planning Director:
Sam Wise
Business Lead:
Max Fabian
Account Director:
Nadine Abeledo
Account Manager:
Gabi Dwek
Head of Film:
Rebecca Williams
Production Assistant:
Anya Culling
Media Buying Agency:
Essence
Media Planner:
Tom Kislingbury
Production Company:
PRETTYBIRD
Director:
Max Malkin
Editor:
Ellie Johnson
Post-Production Company:
The Mill
Audio Post-Production Company:
750mph
Audio Post Production:
Sam Ashwell

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