Brand of the Year

BT, 1996

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It was the year of the telephone. As mobiles became more accessible for normal people, BT was using Bob Hoskins to persuade us to talk for longer on our landlines. “It’s good to talk” was trying to reduce the perception that phone calls were expensive and encourage longer, chattier phone calls. BT was the top spender on advertising in 1996 and also the winner of the IPA Effectiveness Awards.

The mobile phone company, One2One was breaking advertising conventions by focusing on chat rather than price. Supermodel, Kate Moss, wanted to have a One2One with Elvis Presley and John McCarthy wanted to have a One2One with Yuri Gagarin, the first astronaut. “Who would you most like to have a One2One with?”

Babysham relaunched again drawing on its roots with a trademark green bottle and the Babycham deer. Boddingtons’s advertising grew from strength-to-strength with the introduction of Melanie Sykes, “the cream of Manchester”. As a man chased an ice-cream van across the desert, Sykes offered him a pint of Boddingtons and the classic line, “Do you want a flake in that, love?”

When men weren’t lusting after Melanie Sykes there was always Lara Croft, the Tomb Raider heroine who spawned movies, lucrative sponsorship deals and academic debate over whether she was a feminist icon or cyber bimbo.

England was football crazy for Euro ’96 and Newsweek declared London to be the coolest capital city on the planet. The dawn of Cool Britannia was about to appear, albeit briefly.

Snapshot 1996
Brand Value – $6,649m
Brand Value – Methodology
Books: Graham Swift writes Last Orders
Events: GM Food on sale; Dunblane massacre
Films: Trainspotting; Toy Story
Music: Spice Girls sing “Wannabe”