BT teaches children to code in iconic London landmark takeover

BT is helping 5 million schoolchildren learn coding skills through its ‘Barefoot’ tech education programme

British Telecommunications – BT is taking over the world-famous Piccadilly Circus in a one-day activation that showed children how to code by creating their own avatars. These avatars will be displayed on the iconic screens at the London landmark.

The activation is part of “Beyond Limits,” BT’s biggest brand campaign in 20 years and is led by Saatchi & Saatchi London in collaboration with site owners Ocean Outdoor. 273,972 people pass through Piccadilly Circus every day, and children will use tablets with a secure app that enables them to create and customise their personal avatar.

The secure app, created by Publicis•Poke, allows children to change how they want their avatars to look, including hair, eye and skin colour, face and hair shape, as well as accessories such as glasses and headwear. They will see how their code links to real-world choices, providing an insight into how digital experiences work.

The activation is located in the centre of Piccadilly Circus, next to the famous Eros statue. Barefoot teachers and brand ambassadors will be on hand to guide children through the experience. Every hour, the screens will be taken over displaying the avatars the children have created. Media was planned and bought by Posterscope, BT’s specialist OOH agency.

Alice Tendler, Group Head of Band Marketing, BT, said: “BT has made a commitment to give 5 million children the key digital skills to be equipped for their future. In this iconic activation we wanted to do something bespoke that enables kids to discover how creative and accessible coding can be.”

BT is providing digital skills and computing training for a further 3 million children by 2025 in partnership with Computing at School, through the Barefoot computing programme. The programme has already helped more than 70,000 primary school teachers and 2 million children to learn computational thinking and the computing curriculum. Barefoot Computing is part of BT’s Skills for Tomorrow programme that aims to provide digital skills training for 10m people and businesses across the UK by 2025.