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Blueprint for the 80s

British Telecom shares sale, 1984

Paving the way for privatisation : giving a good account

During the Government's sell-off of nationalised industries during the 1980s, there was a huge battle to win the support of the nation. Many people were vehemently opposed to selling what they saw as state, and therefore personal, property whilst others were keen to buy shares and capitalise on the new opportunity.

The Government launched a huge advertising campaign around the concept of 'The Power Behind The Button'. The aim was to bring the sale sharply into the national consciousness and portray British Telecom as a forward-thinking force for the future. British Telecom was given a new identity and heightened brand values to tempt people into buying shares.

The eventual share floatation was hugely oversubscribed, from customers sensing a golden opportunity to make some money out of the venture. In the end the shares had to be strictly rationed, giving everyone a slice of the cake - but curtailing many people's potential profit margin.

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