BT calls up a new logo in attempt to escape from 'arrogant' image

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The Independent Online

BT yesterday ditched its distinctive red and blue piper logo after market research found it conjured up an arrogant image of the company "blowing its own trumpet" in consumers' minds.

BT yesterday ditched its distinctive red and blue piper logo after market research found it conjured up an arrogant image of the company "blowing its own trumpet" in consumers' minds.

The new logo – a globe made up of six different coloured circles – would help convey a change in the company's culture with renewed focus on customer service, it believed.

As part of the rebranding exercise, BT's fleet of 37,000 vans as well as its 133,000 phone booths around the country will need to be rebadged as will the landmark BT Tower in London – a move that needs planning permission.

The image overhaul, however, is expected to cost it less than £5m over the next three years – well beneath the £50m to £60m the company spent rebranding to the piper logo 12 years ago. It is saving money by carrying out the rebranding process over several years. Nor will there be any big budget advertising campaign to accompany the move.

And the logo has been recycled so no new expensive brand consultants were needed. The globe brand was originally developed by the agency Wolff Olins several years ago for BT's ill-fated Concert venture but was instead used by its internet division, BT Openworld.

Angus Porter, managing director of BT Retail's consumer arm, said BT was keen to drop the "negative baggage" associated with the old piper logo. He said: "Over the last few years it [the piper] has become increasingly associated with negative perceptions in people's minds ... like BT blowing its own trumpet."

BT said yesterday the new badge could be interpreted in several different ways, including showing its divisions coming together as one, six different continents or simply various ways of communicating. BT's chief executive, Ben Verwaayen, said: "It represents BT as being in tune with the multimedia age as well as communicating the company's international reach."

The lack of an accompanying heavyweight advertising campaign is a break with tradition for BT, which spends millions of pounds on advertising each year. Most recently, it spent £33m on an all-singing, all-dancing campaign for broadband internet services featuring Jarvis Cocker from the band Pulp, two pig characters called Smokey and Streaky, a rhinoceros, a three-headed dragon and a Mongolian horse woman.

It has also used ET in its campaigns and is said to have paid the actor Hugh Laurie about £500,000 to take over the "it's good to talk campaign" from the predecessor, Bob Hoskins. They followed in the footsteps of Maureen Lipman, the phone-addicted housewife called Beattie, and Buzby – a big yellow cartoon bird that used to dance on phone wires in adverts in the 1980s.

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