Q&A with Everything Everywhere’s Spencer McHugh

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Everything Everywhere director of brand Spencer McHugh speaks to Marketing Week about the forthcoming campaigns for T-Mobile and Orange and the strategy to “clarify and sharpen” each brand’s positioning.

Marketing Week (MW): How did you go about approaching the development of your two simultaneous brand campaigns?

Spencer McHugh (SM): Since we did the joint venture we’ve had the privilege of having these two fantastic brands to work on. What we’ve been trying to look at is their relative positions in the market and play to their strengths so we can really maximise the value from these two brands.

We find the market is polarising to quite clear opposing ends. At one end is the value seekers that are really looking for great bargains, not necessarily just the cheapest price, but looking for what we term “great value deals”.

Then at the other end, you have the higher-end segment that is more interested in the smartphone experience. We’re looking at what people are trying to get out of these ever-improving devices and the network experience they expect for their high performance.

We have a fantastic opportunity with our two brands to address those ends of the spectrum.

MW: Can you go into further detail about your Orange campaign?

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SM: The Orange positioning is essentially “more for more”. We’re communicating that Orange customers get a whole lot more benefits from their network experience; things like Orange Wednesdays and Swappables – a product that allows you to take on premium content subscriptions as part of your monthly payment.

Orange is the brand of choice for people who want more from their network. The creative idea we’ve had is based on the idea that all around us in this room, the network is invisibly working its magic; from giving us the news, directions, music and more. All that magic is happening but you don’t see it. Much of what we do as a network is invisible to everybody.

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We’re making the invisible visible. We have dramatised that through a crack team of Orange ninjas to bring to life the role of Orange, which solves customers’ individual problems or issues. We want to position the brand as the premium smartphone experience.

MW: Is this the biggest campaign Orange has produced?

SM: It is the biggest and most integrated campaign for at least the last couple of years. It is in the region of £7m for the launch activity but our plan is to keep going with this strategy.

The ninja route we’ve taken is playful and fun and we plan to bring out the individual ninja characters more as we go. We think this campaign has definitely got legs – as it were.

MW: Who is this campaign aimed at? Existing customers, or those you hope to acquire?

SM: This is both an acquisition and retention strategy. It is really aimed at smartphone users across the board, that have perhaps owned one or two smartphones before and understand their capabilities.

Our CEO Olaf Swantee made customer loyalty one of our key priorities when he moved into the role and we aim to become the number one in that area. Our churn rate is already at an all time low, due to lots of different factors, but helped by the fact that we have really tightened up on some of the areas we communicate about and are really playing to our strengths now.

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MW: What is the strategy for your T-Mobile campaign?

SM: Again, we’ve looked at the market polarisation and played to our strengths. The T-Mobile brand is fun, populist and for the masses that are looking to get real value from a proper network that doesn’t compromise when it comes to quality.

This campaign will focus on our new “Full Monty Plan”, which is a truly unlimited calls, texts and data tariff. It’s our first tariff of this kind so we wanted our campaign to be an impactful celebration.

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Despite these tough economic times, our marketing does not have to be dour and we have brought together the things that people love about Britain in 2012 and ultimately celebrating the fact that Britain loves a good bargain.

The TV ad in particular is a straightforward idea, piling everything Britain loves into a village – from cheese rolling, to festivals, to grannies, dogs, cats, marching bands, beefeaters, tattoos, drawing on mates’ faces. All of this craziness is all voiced over by Harry Hill, the perfect populist, eccentric British character.

MW: So is life not for sharing any more as far as T-Mobile is concerned?

SM: Life is still very much for sharing and there are moments and elements in this campaign that people will want to share to continue the theme.

It was time to move on [from the “Life’s for sharing” strategy]. Our previous campaigns were very successful and popular but we needed to keep things fresh. T-Mobile essentially invented that flash mob style of communications and advertising and other brands have started to do it themselves.

We needed to keep things relevant and contemporary and keep the populist, light-hearted elements that everybody loved from our previous activity.

MW: The T-Mobile Royal Wedding spoof YouTube video last year was phenomenally successful – will there be similar digital elements to the upcoming campaign?

SM: It’s such a simple idea so there’s a lot of scope for further online engagement beyond the traditional touchpoints.

We’re planning to curate a Tumblr so consumers can share exactly what they love about Britain. One fun element is based around the idea that Britain loves a chicken shop. We’re trying to see if we can put together the 52 states of America in chicken shop names – so Dallas Chicken, Mississippi Chicken, and so on.

Another idea, which is more on the PR side, is to perform a scientific experiment to quantify exactly how much Britain loves a bargain.
We’re hoping people will get really involved with the campaign, as it has scope for real longevity.

MW: There is a lot of affection for T-Mobile and its campaigns, but the company is still just fourth in terms of market share. How do you convert the love for the brand into customers?

SM: The outtake from this campaign is that even if people are not in the market to join us right now, they will love the marketing so much that it will make them smile and they will remember that we do great deals.

Since the merger in 2010, T-Mobile has been on an ascendance, and quarter by quarter the brand is getting bigger and bigger. That comes back to the strong brand proposition.

MW: Where does the Everything Everywhere brand sit with consumers?

SM: Our priority is Orange and T-Mobile. Everything Everywhere is the company we work for and the branded shops we have opened are just to test and trial concepts for retailing.

Most of our customers don’t really know they are an Everything Everywhere customer. The awareness of Everything Everywhere outside the industry is tiny and that is what we wanted. Everything Everywhere is a corporate entity.

What we want to make clear to customers is the advantage of the network share and communicate clearly which shops they can go to for advice. At the customer level there is almost no confusion when it comes to which brand they are a customer of and what advantages they have by being an Everything Everywhere customer.

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