Analysts say telcos’ ‘Fair’ campaign fails to win favour
August 28, 2013 | Rebecca Harris | Comments
Canada’s largest telecommunications firms – Bell, Rogers and Telus – are waging a PR war against Verizon ahead of a wireless spectrum auction wherein the U.S. company is expected to buy its way into the market. But in a CBC report, experts say the telcos’ “Fair for Canada” campaign is doing little to get the public on-side.
“[The telecom providers] haven’t paid attention to the fact – whether it’s reality or not – that the perception is they’re taking advantage of Canadian customers in the pocketbook and taking liberties with customer service,” Mark Blevis, a digital public affairs analyst, told the CBC.
“So they haven’t built a relationship with the Canadian public. They’ve now turned to the Canadian public to come to their aid.”
The campaign, which urges the public to “stand up for fair competition in Canada,” includes newspaper ads, radio spots and the website FairForCanada.ca. The Canadian telcos’ main concern is that Verizon will have an unfair advantage in the upcoming spectrum auctions, as it can buy frequencies at subsidized rates set aside for smaller wireless providers.
Blevis analyzed the online response to the campaign and found that an “overwhelming number of people” have been critical of the campaign, according to the CBC report. Meanwhile, a survey by Forum Research found that 57% of Canadians support Verizon entering the Canadian market, and 68% believe an American competitor would drive down prices, as the Canadian wireless providers would be forced to compete for customers.
“Canadians have sniffed this one out,” Blevins told the CBC. “They can tell what the big three are trying to do and it’s not going over well.”
The campaign also appears to have little effect on the policy makers. Iain Grant, an analyst with The Seaboard Group consulting firm, told the CBC that if effectiveness is measured by shifting public policy and by changing minds of the people who have the ability to change the policy, this campaign “has been one of the least effective lobbying/PR campaigns in history.”
Disclosure: Rogers owns Marketing and MarketingMag.ca