Product/ServiceBT TV
Category A05. Media / Entertainment
Idea Creation BT London, UNITED KINGDOM
Idea Creation 2 ESSENCE London, UNITED KINGDOM
Idea Creation 3 DCM London, UNITED KINGDOM
Idea Creation 4 RECIPE London, UNITED KINGDOM
Media Placement ESSENCE London, UNITED KINGDOM
Media Placement 2 DCM London, UNITED KINGDOM
Name Company Position
Rebecca Montgomery Recipe Head of Creative

Why is this work relevant for Media?

For the launch of flexible BT TV, we decided to fool cinemagoers into thinking they were sat in the wrong screening to showcase our key differentiator - a TV service where you only pay for what you want to watch. We created two bespoke fake film openings, tailored to the audience, and ran them immediately before the billed screening of a very different genre that they had come to watch. In a world first, we used contextual advertising with captive paying cinemagoers to land the benefits of BT’s new flexible offering in a fully immersive, impactful and relevant way.


People love TV, but hate paying for things they don’t want to watch. That’s why we created flexible BT TV. In March 2020, BT launched the UK’s first range of flexible TV packages that can be switched on and off every month. This gives customers access to the best of TV entertainment, movies and sport, but means they only pay for what they want to watch. Going up against behemoths Sky and Virgin with some of the biggest budgets in UK advertising, we set out to disrupt an established market and get the UK to take notice through an innovative media launch. Top of our wish list was a standout paid media channel that could transcend the words in our ads and explain BT TV’s differentiator of only paying for the content you want to watch. Where better than an environment where consumers had just paid to watch something… cinema.

Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)

Cinema, the most immersive and sacred of ‘paid for’ media experiences. But all too often, TV ads are just rolled out to cinema. So to bring to life BT TV’s flexibility, in a world-first, we used contextual cinema advertising to fool cinemagoers into thinking they were sitting in the wrong screening and make people take notice. We produced two 60 second fake film openings, deliberately designed to look and feel like the start of a real movie and ran them in the ‘gold spot’ to fool cinemagoers into thinking they were sat in the wrong screen. By combining the most premium media placement with a clever creative idea in the most captive environment, we found the perfect formula to land our message about the benefits of flexible TV.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

To elicit the best reactions, we carefully selected our hoax films to play in front of two distinct audiences we thought wouldn’t want to see our fake blockbusters. If people went to the cinema to watch the comedy Military Wives, we showed our faux sci-fi Broken Trace. When cinemagoers settled in to watch Disney Pixar’s family flick Onward, we played our spoof western blockbuster Bitter Truth. We even lined the cinema foyer walls with digital OOH posters for the spoof films. 60 seconds in and there were confused faces all round - people panicked they were in the wrong screening. Time to break the fourth wall. Our actors turned to speak directly to cinemagoers, asking "You’re not here to watch this, are you? You wouldn’t pay for something you don’t want to watch at the cinema, so don’t put up with it at home”, before revealing BT’s new flexible TV.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

We chose cinema theatres and foyers for this bespoke activation. After securing the ‘gold spot’, we had to become real movie producers, promoters and distributors for our faux blockbusters, tailoring an all-encompassing experience to audiences who would be most taken in by our prank. And of course, ensure production was of the quality you’d expect of a real film. BT and partners held a workshop to collectively create a storyline and plan, using data to secure the ‘gold spot’ just before the real films played out, as well as decide the genres, audiences, and film selections. From 13th March to 24th April, BT’s two contextual ads were shown against Disney Pixar’s family flick Onward and comedy Military Wives in Cineworld, Vue and Odeon cinemas across the UK.

List the results (30% of vote)

The result was the world’s first high impact, memorable contextual cinema ads that left audiences laughing and wanting more. People saw our ads and responded in their droves. We saw: Record high-levels of Brand Familiarity 26% uplift in Brand Consideration Doubled awareness of the flexibility BT TV offers 48% increase in credibility perceptions Two-thirds of cinema goers claimed to have taken action after seeing the ad And cinemagoers said: “I didn’t think it was an ad to start with” “It was targeted perfectly” “That’s a great advertising idea”