Shaw Rebrands, launches national campaign

Competitors won't miss the Calgary telecom's new campaign from Rethink

Competitors won’t miss the Calgary telecom’s new campaign from Rethink

Shaw has unveiled a company-wide rebranding, and is introducing it to current and potential customers through a national campaign.


A new logo, strategic and creative direction for Shaw’s marketing efforts come from the Vancouver-based agency Rethink, who have been confirmed as the telecom’s agency of record.

The strapline for the new campaign is “You won’t miss a thing.”

“We didn’t have a consistent, modern, fresh look and feel to the company,” said Jim Little, chief marketing officer at Shaw. “In a very competitive environment, it felt like we were leaving tools on the table. The goal was to create something that would stand the test of time.”

Shaw’s new branding enters a market where three established branding campaigns are in full-spending mode—Telus’ animals have been appearing for years, Rogers’ “World-leading Internet Experiences” hit the market in May, and Bell’s “Better” campaign has been in heavy rotation since 2008.

“Obviously, Telus has set the bar for what’s out there,” said Rethink co-founder and partner Chris Staples. “We wanted to do something better.”

At the hub of the campaign are a group of animated robots who live in Shaw’s “data pipe” and represent the various aspects of the Shaw brand.

“We’re in love with the bots,” said Katherine Emberly, Shaw’s vice-president of marketing. At launch, viewers will be introduced to Bud (who represents “the 40-year cable veteran,” says Emberly) and Bit who, as a new member of the Shaw team, is introduced to the company’s offering, along with the viewer.

“One of the things we wanted to do was establish the balance between technology and people,” Little said. “We sat with JR Shaw, the founder, and [CEO] Brad Shaw, and they reinforced that why the company was formed 40 years ago was why it exists today: it’s about caring for people, and it’s about the best pipe,” or user experience. “So we put the story in the pipe.”

“We do have some other bots who are planned to come down the pipe,” Emberly said, acknowledging the pun, “one for business, her name will be Biz; a bot for our satellite company, Shaw Direct, and that will be Beam; and then we’re working on a media bot who will most likely be named Buzz and be that red-carpet interviewer type.”

These additional characters are set to debut over the coming months (likely in the spring of 2013, according to Staples) once the rebranding has taken hold.

Media agency PHD handled the national buy, which begins next week.

The rebranding has been in the works since Little’s arrival at Shaw in May (from RBC). “It’s been job one over the last five or six months,” Little said.

“Literally, 10 minutes after he got here, we started,” Emberly added.

Rethink pitched six ideas to its new client in June. “By mid-July we’d locked down on the bots,” Staples said. “We wanted to come up with a truly cohesive platform that would work across all their properties. You want something that will work in print and radio, something their team could really work with and manipulate, which is why we leaned towards computer animation; it’s hard to have actors standing by all the time to do 100 ads a year, which is what they require.”

Little likely understood these benefits right away. As Bell’s marketing vice-president, he introduced its Beaver mascots in 2005 who defined the brand for nearly four years and, like Bud and Bit, were an animated duo who appeared across all media to promote the brand.

“This was the biggest brief we ever got—to do something that could truly live for five to 10 years in every medium,” said Staples, who added that the work was handled by Rethink’s Vancouver office.

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