BT unveils new ad character

BT has introduced a “Mum” character to its student flatmate ad series to help demonstrate the benefits of YouView.

Samantha Bond plays “Simon’s Mum” in new BT ad installment.

The mum, played Downton Abbey and Outnumbered actress Samantha Bond, features in the next installment of the ad, which airs from 2 January. She is the mother of geeky character Simon, played by Daniel Rigby.

She will also be included in a wider £6m integrated BT YouView campaign, which will run for the majority of its third quarter, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. Activity will include outdoor, print and digital

David James, BT Retail’s marketing director for consumer, told Marketing Week that while the student characters resonated across demographics to demonstrate broadband, the brand thought a new scenario was needed to ensure audiences did not think BT was just targeting young people.

He adds: “TV is very much a family product so it was very purposeful to bring in the mum. She adds new dimensions to [the series] and can introduce more warmth and product benefits.”

The flatmate series has already been found to be “more successful” than it’s long-running Adam and Jane campaigns. The Spanish-themed ad it ran during the Olympics – which was not part of its sponsorship activity – was found to be the “most memorable” ad of London 2012.

BT will be positioning its YouView box as having the biggest library of on demand content and “twice the capacity of the TalkTalk box”. Talk Talk is the only other broadband provider YouView shareholder alongside BT.

Until now, BT has only marketed YouView with a small print and online “test”, compared with Talk Talk that has run major activity since the service’s launch earlier this year.

James explains: “We wanted to see how the consortium’s ads were picked up. We feel it was the right decision [to hold back] as YouView awareness is at the right level for us to harness that in a bigger way. There’s still some big awareness jobs to do around YouView and that BT offers the service – and there’s definitely still benefits to land about why YouView is different from Sky and other TV services.”

BT is set to reveal the number of customers it has signed up to YouView when it publishes results for its third quarter in February.

Next year the company is set to launch its first ever sports channel after gaining broadcasting rights to air English Premiership football and rugby games.

James says: “There’s a lot of change for us as an organisation as we are introducing a new business but this will strengthen our brand in a new and interesting way. We have a big job to do to explain our TV strategy but this will make more sense [to consumers] as we progress through the year and we take people on our journey…we need to bring the story together so people will go ‘of course, why wouldn’t BT do TV’.”