First Telecom withdraws ‘BT.con’ slogan after one-day campaign

BT has forced rival telecom operator First Telecom to abandon a new advertising campaign after one day because of the strapline, www.BT.con.

First Telecom launched the national press, poster and taxi-side campaign a week ago (November 25). But the following day First Telecom issued a statement to publications saying that the company has agreed not to use the slogan “in any advertising, for the time being, and to use all our reasonable steps to withdraw this with immediate effect.”

First Telecom says it has made no permanent agreement to withdraw the campaign which promotes its claim to offer Internet call charges at a 20 per cent discount to BT’s. It expects the situation to be further clarified by the end of this week.

The campaign, by Walsh Trott Chick Smith with media by Mediacom TMB, was due to run throughout December. First Telecom has long advertised comparisons between its own call charges and BT’s, in common with other telecoms companies.

A BT spokesman says: “We keep our eye on various communications in the market and act when we think it’s appropriate.”

Sources close to First Telecom say the campaign was not a publicity stunt but a bona-fide campaign in response to BT’s claims to be cutting Internet costs.

Earlier this month BT announced changes to the way it charges Internet service providers (ISPs) to use its telephone network. ISPs are to pay BT £10 a month for each consumer’s calls to its service.

BT claims the move will cut the cost of Internet calls, but industry observers say BT is being disingenuous because ISPs will shift the cost back on to consumers.

In the US Internet call charges are free but people pay a service subscription, the opposite to the UK situation.

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