BT Sport has been given a smack in the mouth over a tongue in cheek direct mail campaign which was designed to get pubs to sign up for its TV packages, with landlords across the UK left fuming.
The mailshot, understood to have been devised by OgilvyOne, tells landlords they have been “specially selected for The Quiet Pub Guide 2016” and are “in the running for the Quiet Pub of the Year 2016/17”.
It goes on to say that their pubs are places drinkers can sup in “utter peace and quiet” and that being included in the guide will “cement your reputation as a quiet pub for good.” It adds: “No crowds, no noise, no BT Sport, just a delightfully empty pub. You’ll be surprised at the many other benefits of being in our unique guide. Fewer pints sold means fewer barrel changes for you. With hardly any customers, your staff wages can be up to 50% less.”
But the agency’s sense of humour has not struck a chord with some landlords, who have not taken too kindly to being told their pubs are as dead as a dodo. Many have vented their anger on social media, with one calling the campaign “horrid, disgusting and insulting”, while others have described it as “laughable and arrogant”, and “condescending”.
Even the chairman of the British Pub Confederation and Save the Pub group, Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland, has written to BT TV and Sport managing director Delia Bushell to complain and called for the marketing agency behind the mailshot to be sacked.
BT said: “This direct mail was intended as a tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign highlighting how sport can make a difference to some pubs by bringing customers together through a shared love of sport.
“Many pubs are successful without the need for televised sport, and we apologise to anyone who has been offended by the letter.”
BT is currently reviewing the direct marketing business for both its own brand and mobile firm EE as part of its plan to slash £400m in costs over the next four years by merging many of the two companies’ operations.
BT’s DM agency is OgilvyOne, while AMV and its subsidiaries handle both the digital and ad business. EE’s direct marketing account is handled by Publicis Chemistry.
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