BT denies paying off the piper

BT has moved to quash speculation that it is reconsidering its corporate identity, despite design briefs being issued that specify that its piper visual device is not to appear on shopfronts.

Its mobile telecoms arm BT Cellnet is in the final throes of a four-month long pitch for the rebranding of the BT group’s entire retail estate as BT Cellnet stores.

Documents leaked to Design Week clearly state that the piper device is not to appear on the new shopfronts.

BT group head of design David Mercer plays down the move. “[Not using the piper] is not hugely significant. It is not always appropriate to use it because of formats – for instance, it doesn’t appear on sports ground advertisements. Shop facias may be too long and thin to use it on. It is a purely practical consideration,” he says.

Mercer denies that there are any plans to change the corporate identity or drop the piper.

However, sources say that BT has approached consultancies about its branding.

The piper was created by Wolff Olins in 1991 and updated by Enterprise IG 15 months ago (DW 17 December 1999).

Meanwhile, BT Cellnet is understood to have narrowed its sixstrong pitch list to two consultancies. The job is to create the visual identity and store frontage for about 350 stores nationwide that will be branded BT Cellnet.

The estate will be formed from BT’s branded stores, DX Communications and Mobile Phone Stores, which were acquired in September 1999 and April 2000.

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