Bell takes a timeless approach to staying in touch

The telco made carols using phones and computers from the past 140 years to show how it keeps Canadians connected.

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Bell is looking to Christmas past to show Canadians that even though people might feel more far apart than ever, it has always been able to keep people connected.

This year’s holiday campaign from the telco features two TV spots, each one using devices Bell has connected over the last 140 years to recreate classic Christmas carols – one of which carrying a message that will likely hit especially close to home for people separated from their families during the holidays this year.

“Whether it’s calling home from a phone booth during wartime, dialling on a rotary phone in the ’70s, or a video chat in the midst of a pandemic, people throughout the ages have always needed to stay connected,” says Zak Mroueh, CCO and CEO at Zulu Alpha Kilo, which helped create the campaign. He adds that the agency worked “meticulously” with Scout’s Honour director Mark Zibert to make sure the devices, pulled from Bell’s own archives, accurately reflected what people might be using in each era.

Devorah Lithwick, SVP, brand at Bell, says the idea of loved ones yearning for connection, especially over long distances, is “timeless.” And while the campaign backs up Bell’s ability to provide that connection with scenes from the last 140 years, it has extra relevance this year.

“Connection is at the heart of what we do,” she says. “And certainly in a year like 2020 – where we have needed to stay apart to stay safe – being able to connect with our friends, family and colleagues through technology has allowed us to be together in a different way.”

While it has been an element in much of its messaging in recent years, Bell’s marketing in 2020 has zeroed in on the quality of the connections it can provide Canadians – and the importance of doing so. The holiday campaign focuses more on the emotional side of staying connected, but Bell has also taken a more practical look at how essential a fast and reliable connection is.

In the fall, Bell and Zulu ran a campaign showing how its network – which the telco boasts as having upload speeds that are 15 times faster than other major providers – could help avoid social distancing disasters, like video calls freezing during a boss’ motivational speech or a virtual yoga class cutting out in the middle of complicated pose.

“People have been relying on their technology in an unprecedented way this year,” Lithwick says. “Technology has enabled all of us to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues throughout the challenges we all faced in 2020 – we understand how important and essential that connection is for people.”

The campaign launched Dec. 2 with TV, outdoor, social media and a TikTok execution featuring the cast of the ad singing “Ill Be Home for Christmas.” Media Experts handled the buy.