CWC gets personal to drive the message home

George Michaelides is managing partner at Michaelides & Bednash, which advised CWC on its 50m brand launch campaign that broke last Monday.

To paraphrase Bill Clinton’s election credo: It’s the customer, stupid.

So, the central idea of the Cable & Wireless Communications ad campaign is a national survey asking its existing customers: “What can we do for you?” In tandem with the advertising idea, Michaelides & Bednash developed a media strategy that turns the survey into a national event that is both relevant and involving.

The media strategy is designed to make CWC customers feel valued by asking them the question in the public arena. In this way customers take notice and are interested in the company and its role in their lives and, ideally, respond to the survey.

The central idea is to act like a media content provider. This involves behaving as TV channels and newspapers do when they communicate with their viewers and readers. For example, TV channels use “idents” to create a personality and a context for their programmes, while newspapers write about things that matter to people.

Behaving like a media content provider helps to communicate CWC’s role as a telecommunications and TV provider for people’s daily and business lives. And it opens the way for imaginative and attention-grabbing means of using the media.

To kick-off we created an unmissable event in newspapers: we took up all the colour ad space in every national paper on Monday September 15. Colour was crucial as yellow is the signature of the ad campaign – devised by Rapier Stead & Bowden – and the ten or so ad spaces in each paper meant we could highlight the potential services CWC could eventually offer. This aimed to ensure that each idea was communicated simply and powerfully.

Take The Times for example. On its sports pages we asked: “Would you like to choose your own camera angles when you watch sport on TV?”; on TV pages: “Would you like your TV to know what you want to watch?”; on business pages: “Would your company like an Internet link that gets all the surfers out of the way?”; And on main news pages: “Would you like a single phone number that follows you around wherever you go?” We used the front page to make the introductions, answering the question: “Who are we?”

This should ensure that customers get the whole picture and they get it quickly, just through reading their newspaper on a single day. They should understand the nature of the company, the purpose of the survey and feel encouraged to participate in it, when, as one of the million-plus existing customers, they receive it in the post.

The media idea for the TV ads is also based on behaving like a media content provider – just like a TV channel uses its station idents. In each ad break, two five-second commercials act as idents and precede the main “feature” – a 40-second ad.

The idents are designed to ensure that viewers are predisposed to the 40-second commercials that go on to establish the campaign idea – that CWC is conducting one of the biggest surveys to date. Asking its customers what they want so CWC can shape its products accordingly.

Finally, over the coming weeks, posters, TV and newspaper ads will surround CWC customers, reminding them to join in the survey.

Profile, page 48, Pitcher, page 23

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