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Holmes Report

BT Office Anywhere

Fishburn Hedges and BT Business conceived and executed an innovative PR and marketing campaign to support the exposition of a new technology service for businesses at a London based event, Urban Beach

Paul Holmes

Fishburn Hedges and BT Business conceived and executed an innovative PR and marketing campaign to support the exposition of a new technology service for businesses at a London based event, Urban Beach. The campaign took a brand new approach to promoting BT Business, providing the organisation with the chance to showcase the true benefits of the service in a live, interactive and innovative setting. It delivered targeted broadcast and print coverage, providing 1.7 million opportunities to see, driving potential customers to the event, as well as delivering 70 quality sales leads and raising brand awareness among the product’s key audience.


The opportunity

It is summer in the city. Workers’ thoughts turn to lazy days away from the office, soaking up the rays in the park or perhaps taking a trip to the coast. But work must carry on at its usual pace, deadlines must be met, and the constant demands of colleagues and clients must be satisfied. It was against this backdrop that BT Business decided to become a co-sponsor of Urban Beach in August 2007, a week-long event held in Finsbury Square in London’s Square Mile, set on a man-made beach complete with 300 tonnes of sand, palm trees and deckchairs. Urban Beach was chosen as a sponsorship vehicle because it provided the perfect backdrop to showcase the benefits of BT Business’s new smartphone, Office Anywhere, a hand-held device which enables small and medium-sized businesses to do business seamlessly when they are away from the office, giving them access to their calendar, contact information, documents, spreadsheets, email and the internet, and providing substantial savings on mobile calls.


Challenges & objectives

The device was launched to the market in April, and BT Business was looking for an opportunity to capture the imagination of its target audience by bringing the benefits of the product to life.

While the smartphone has become a common part of business life, many small and mediumsized businesses are yet to provide the service to their employees, amid fears of high running costs and worries about work/life balance. The aim was to target potential business customers in an environment in which one would not normally expect to be able to keep in touch with the office, bringing the product to life in an imaginative and unusual setting and demonstrating the freedom and productivity benefits it facilitates. Because BT Business was sharing the sponsorship platform with other companies, the challenge was to ensure that the BT brand and messages about flexible working stood out in media coverage about the event, and that the activities on the BT stand enticed attendees to engage with the brand.


Planning and strategic approach

Research into a similar event in Paris, and the first Urban Beach in London in 2006, demonstrated that there was an appetite among workers to attend such an event. Moreover, the location of Urban Beach in the centre of the Square Mile provided us with a prime opportunity to interact with the 10,000 visitors attending in 2007, many of whom would be business owners or managers responsible for choosing their company’s IT and communications – our target audience.

Our strategy was to generate interest in BT’s presence at Urban Beach leading up to and during the event in the London media, and create a number of activities to take place on the stand and around the beach to encourage attendees to engage with the Office Anywhere service.



Developing media collateral & stand activities

In advance, we commissioned omnibus research which identified that Londoners have lied about

being in the office when they have been elsewhere, providing a hook to demonstrate the ease with which workers can keep in touch with the office on the move using Office Anywhere. The launch press release focused on BT Business’s presence at Urban Beach, highlighting how unusual and fun an event like this in the middle of London would be for workers. We secured BT Business Office Anywhere inclusion in the organiser’s press release and in more than 100,000 leaflets distributed to local businesses in the week prior to the event.


We designed and distributed paper and MMS flyers promoting Office Anywhere and the events at Urban Beach, including a unique URL and PR customer phone number used across all communications.


We were also responsible for generating interest in the BT stand throughout the five days the event was running, some of which could be used for PR and case study purposes.

Activities were concentrated between noon and 2.30pm when most workers would visit the beach during their lunch hour, marveling at the spectacle of 300 tonnes of white sand in central London, enabling the BT sales team to engage with potential customers in a fun, interactive way.


Activities included:

- “Beach Workers” – three actors dressed half in beachwear, half in office wear, would roam the beach distributing flyers about Office Anywhere and encouraging people to visit the stand;

-“Postcard from the Office” – beach-goers could have their photo taken with the beach workers, pretending to work in the mock office environment on the BT stand, and could then email them to friends. Emails included links through to the Office Anywhere section of;

-“Knock off early” – week-long competition to win Office Anywhere and a fully-catered afternoon meeting on the BT stand.


Media engagement

Media engagement commenced two weeks before the event to encourage early coverage

and journalist attendance:


A media alert was issued two weeks before Urban Beach announcing BT Business’s

presence there to all London, lifestyle listings, broadcast, business and trade media;


All London newsdesks, picture desks and broadcast planning desks were pre-briefed to encourage them to cover BT Business’s involvement at Urban Beach. When they arrived at the beach, we ensured their shots included the BT stand; We invited technology and business writers to interview BT Business spokespeople at the beach and receive information about the product;


On launch day, a press release was issued about the research into Londoners’ lies to generate news interest;


A photo-caption story was released at the start of the week with a generic shot of people

working on a beach using Office Anywhere;


This was followed up with another photocaption story in the middle of the week with

a shot of BT Business’ “beach workers”.



Coverage was generated in our key London target media: Evening Standard (half-page in all three editions, including photo), London Lite, City AM, BBC London Radio (breakfast show) and BBC London TV (evening news); The Independent also ran a full page on the event, referencing BT;


Whilst the event had 10 sponsors, BT Business was the only sponsor mentioned in all the coverage, all of which was positive;


The Independent, Evening Standard and London Lite all quoted BT as promoting flexible working. BBC London Radio also referenced BT as enabling businesses to work more flexibly – a key BT Business message;


Total opportunities to see reached 1,772,873;


Media briefings with technology writers took place on the beach, resulting in an opportunity

for a feature in Mobile Choice for Business;


News of BT Business’ presence at Urban Beach was covered in the internal newsletter, BT Today;


70 sales leads were generated


More than 2,000 paper flyers and 120 mobile text flyers were distributed to business workers on the beach throughout the week, raising awareness of the BT Business brand and the Office Anywhere service.

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