A less‘er’ Bell for Christmas

Bell’s massive rebranding has entered phase two, as its holiday ads spread across all media with less of the contentious “er” that got people talking about the platform when it launched in the summer. Ads for each of Bell’s vertical markets—mobile, Internet, home phone etc.—began running last week using the now familiar blue and white […]

Bell’s massive rebranding has entered phase two, as its holiday ads spread across all media with less of the contentious “er” that got people talking about the platform when it launched in the summer.

Ads for each of Bell’s vertical markets—mobile, Internet, home phone etc.—began running last week using the now familiar blue and white backgrounds that first appeared in August.

In one TV ad for mobile products, which takes place in front of a huge Bell logo, a Salvation Army-like street musician is joined by passersby in a holiday rendition of “Groove is in the Heart.” People are shown texting friends and photographing the impromptu concert before the camera pulls back to reveal the full Bell logo.

The spot closes with the line “Smartphones just got better,” with the “er” ending appearing in bold typeface. This quirky font treatment defined the earlier stages of the campaign when the letters began appearing on white backgrounds as a teaser campaign.

Response to the “er” teasers was mixed, but Rick Seifeddine, senior vice-president, brand manager for Bell, said that part of the brand platform was meant to get some attention and then disappear.

“I worried because in the press [the whole campaign] became about ‘er’ and all the conversations around the watercoolers were about ‘er,’ ” he said. “We all knew internally that it was just to bring attention to “Better,” but there were moments when it was overheating. It was the firecracker we threw in the room before entering the party. It was supposed to generate the buzz and you never want the buzz to overwhelm the message, but I think it worked in the end the way the agencies said it would.”

Other holiday executions, such as transit ads for mobile roll-over minutes, have no bold “er” except in the line “Today just got better,” which appears as a smaller secondary element in the bottom right hand corner. A recent 16-page newspaper insert contains no reference to “er.”

As the campaign enters the crucial holiday season, which can account for up to 80% of the mobility division’s sales, Seifeddine said he is happy with the new platform and has been getting a tremendous response from within the company.

He would not provide details of the internal metrics used to measure the campaign’s success, but did say “it is strong and positive… It’s taken particularly strongly in Quebec.”

Bell’s agency partners for the new platform are Leo Burnett, Zulu Alpha Kilo, Cossette Communication-Marketing, Jam and Montreal’s LG2.

Agency assignments are now handed out by vertical market, although Seifeddine would not say which agency had which vertical.

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