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The Number 118 118 - They came, they saw, they conquered
Includes video content
Recommended by Warc editors
Cameron Saunders and Yusuf Chuku, Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, Gold, IPA Effectiveness Awards, 2004
This paper shows how advertising created a phenomenon in the dull world of directory enquiries, propelling an unknown brand to market leader within a matter of months.
This paper shows how advertising created a phenomenon in the dull world of directory enquiries, propelling an unknown brand to market leader within a matter of months. It was a brave decision to advertise several months ahead of switch-off but one that paid off, since by then the 118 118 runners had already clocked up 17 million calls. Another key tactic was spending £2m of the advertising budget on buying the 118 118 number sequence. Post switch-off 118 118 dominated the deregulated market whilst charging people a premium for it. At the time of this paper’s submission 118 118 had 44% of the directory enquiries market. Next with 34% was BT, which has the luxury of a 47-year relationship with the British public. This highly original communication idea was transformed into a cult-like phenomenon by equally inventive media thinking. The brand’s iconic 70s runners and their catchphrase ‘Got Your Number’ has slipped into the public consciousness. So prolific was this campaign that the majority of all articles written about deregulation were accompanied by imagery provided by 118 118. By focusing on the period when consumers still had a choice of calling 192 or the new 118 number, this paper provides a straightforward advertising effect: £11.5m communications spend delivered £45m in revenue.
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