Bell Canada gets nostalgic with new brand spot

Who: Bell Canada and lg2, with media from Media Experts.

What: A playful new bilingual TV and online spot showing the many ways Bell has helped Canadians connect over the last 139 years.

When & Where: The spot, “Connecting You for 139 years,” went live last week and the media buy is open-ended, says Devorah Lithwick, senior vice-president of brand for Bell in Toronto. “As long as it doesn’t have wear-out, and I don’t think it will, it could serve us well for the next few months.”

Why: The spot isn’t timed to coincide with any particular occasion or promote any specific products or services, says Lithwick. “We’ve produced so many product and service spots, [that] it’s always nice to put something in the mix that connects with Canadians on a more emotional level, and remind them of Bell’s role in keeping Canadians connected.”

Its designed to be emotionally relevant to all ages and genders, says Lithwick, “reminding them that Bell’s been that connective tissue for people to communicate. It’s nothing deeper than that.”

How: The charming :60 spot (there’s also a :30 cutdown) is constructed around the catchphrase that lovestruck youngsters have used for decades: “No, you hang up.” It also references other key aspects of telephone culture over the years—such as parents listening in on the other line, a young man urging someone to “pick-up, pick-up, pick-up” from a pay-phone, and the early days of dial-up internet.

The Montreal-shot spot uses actual technology from Bell’s product archives, ranging from old-timey wall-mounted phones to bulky car phones to the latest handsets.

The spot cuts back and forth between the past and the present, which Lithwick says was a deliberate strategy. “The story was more about connections versus ‘Here’s what we’ve done since the 1880s.’ We felt that it didn’t need to have that linear arc to keep the creative more relevant to connections.”

Why lg2?: The agency is one of three agencies on Bell’s roster, including Zulu Alpha Kilo and Leo Burnett. “We like to create pieces that are relevant across the country, and this was originally one we thought would be relevant in Quebec, but it was so universal as a theme and a message that we produced it as a national spot,” says Lithwick.

And we quote: “I think it rings the bells on relevance, and [being] true to our brand platform.” —Devorah Lithwick, senior vice-president of brand, Bell Canada.


Chris Powell