The worst ad campaign of the moment

Posted on July 28, 2010

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BT, the UK’s monolithic telecoms supplier has recently added Sky Sports (the televisual crown jewels) to its BT Vision package – a bit late to the game you might think, and you’d be right.  This is a big deal for BT’s TV offering, which has always been a little bit like the bloke in the Corrs: nobody gives it a second glance when you can see what else is on offer (Sky, Virgin and dare I say Freeview).  So, now that BT Vision has a sporting proposition to offer does BT have a fighting chance in the market: I don’t think so and neither it seems does BT!

Making the most of your hired sporting 'legends'

Where I live (Bristol), you can’t move for billboards promoting this momentous moment.  A pretty decent media spend I’m sure, so why then fill the space with what amounts to turning up to a party in jeans and a t-shirt when everyone else is in fancy dress?

The ads feature Premier League footballers – wow – and even a couple you may have heard of.  They show Michael Owen, Shay Given, Gareth Bale and Wes Brown (yep, I had to look up the last two) with faces like they’re suffering from a collective bout of serious constipation, leaving a tunnel to presumably get onto the pitch and strut their stuff. Okay, so not going for the likes of Rooney, Lampard et al suggests that the ambitions of BT aren’t that serious, but they compound this by making them wear a bodged football strip that you’d have complained about wearing for the school team circa twenty years ago.   On Shay (the goalkeeper) Given’s top you can even see where they have stitched a little yellow patch over what I can only think is some 4th rate sports brand’s logo – probably with a name like Shoot or Tackle, or more appropriately Miss!

It is a terribly constructed advert that, to me at least, suggests that BT has very little confidence in their proposition – so why the hell should the punters?  BT has probably spent a decent amount of money on this integrated (TV, radio, press, outdoor, DM and online) campaign and all I can see it doing is reinforcing their position in the market as the choice for those who can’t afford any better (of course Freeview is free and pretty comparable).  In fact, this advert is, in essence, much the same as Gerald Ratner telling the world that his product was crap.  People who subscribe to BT Vision presumably do so because they are on a budget, but they don’t necessarily need that position to be mimicked by BT themselves.

I feel better for getting that off my chest.  (and I suspect that’s what Michael Owen said after removing the offending shirt).  I will upload a photo of the offending ads when I next walk past one…  and by the power of iPhone – here it is:

The offending ad

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Posted in: Bad marketing