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23.08.2011No doubt you will have heard how Telecom New Zealand made itself and the country a global laughing stock with its “no sex” campaign for the Rugby World Cup.
Fortunately, after the uproar, the company dumped the campaign.
It wouldn`t be so bad if the ad was actually funny, but what Telecom`s admen failed to realise is that incumbent monopoly telcos have a special place in the hearts of their nation.
This, coupled with the ridicule of New Zealand`s national religion (rugby), is why the ad got it all wrong.
Telecom New Zealand is part of the social fabric of New Zealand, part of the family furniture, and despite its privatisation decades ago, is still considered by many to be part of the “family silver”.
Every Kiwi family still feels a sense of ownership to this large corporate. Telecom is part of the family so its campaigns should appeal to all of the family, kids included. Furthermore, Telecom not only represents itself, but the entire country.
So it is with similar incumbent monopoly telcos like Telstra and British Telecom, which are also part of their own country`s social fabric.
In the 1970s, we saw British Telecom (BT) use a bird character, Buzby to advertise its products. Then, in the 1980s, we saw actress Maureen Lipman play Jewish grandmother Beattie in a much-loved series of ads.
More recently, BT delivered a soap-style series with a modern “blended” family, which finished with a happy ending of a wedding and new baby!
In the 1980s, Telecom New Zealand created Spot the Dog to advertise the “Services and Products Of Telecom”, hence Spot.
He earned himself a tribute when he died.
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