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No BT Broadband adverts during Broadband awareness advertising
Friday 20 September 2002 16:03:00 by Andrew Ferguson

ZDNet has got an interesting item about developments in the £10m advertising campaign BT is about to undertake.

Apparently Oftel has told BT to stop advertising its own products during the advert campaign that is due to run between 22nd September and 1st October. BT has agreed this with Oftel and the BT Retail marketing push is to be delayed until after this awareness campaign. Strangely Oftel are publically saying there is no agreement with BT over this.

The £10 million campaign is entitled 'Possibilities' and is apparently to be one of the most intensive marketing drives the UK has seen. We shall have to see what the campaign brings and then judge its effect.

An awareness campaign is to be welcomed, mention ADSL to most people and you will get a 'what is that?' response. By raising awareness that a better than dialup product exists at an affordable price the campaign is likely to make people look around for a suitable Service Provider. Hopefully for those who live in the parts of the UK with no ADSL service the campaign will address this and rather than leaving people feeling annoyed at being ignored, it will show how to register their interest and so stimulate more rollout.

The main concern now is the closeness of the BT Retail advertising to this generic campaign. This means that there is a real chance that BT Retail will reap the bulk of new customers. Certainly there has been little public knowledge of the campaign so it is very likely that non BT Service Providers are going to be stretched to run their own marketing campaign to benefit heavily from the 'Possibilities' campaign. Though it must be said that for the money AOL and Freeserve spend on dialup advertising the money used to advertise broadband would probably just about buy lunch for the advertising teams.

The debate amongst both users of broadband and potential customers is whether the £10 million would be better off spent enabling more exchanges. Certainly £10 million would enable between 20 and 200 exchanges, the exact figure depends on whether you subscribe to BTs exchange costs or ones published by various third parties. If 'Posibilities' does result in lots of interest and leads to more exchanges rapidly hitting their trigger level then the cost could be justified. To some extent if BT doesnt promote ADSL it is in the wrong, and if it does promote ADSL it is still in the wrong.

At present it is a case of seeing what the double edged sword of advertising will reveal over the next few weeks.


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