Phones 4U ‘less polarising’ in upgrade push

Phones 4U is taking on a “less polarising approach” in its next marketing campaign as it looks to appeal to a wider audience with ads pushing its upgrade service.

The mobile retailer, the creator of the several of the most complained about ads of 2011 with its horror-themed spots, is targeting its latest campaign at consumers aged 16 to 34, rather than skewing to a younger audience.

“Upgrades 4u and u and u” aims to banish misconceptions that consumers can only upgrade their mobiles with the company they had previously bought their device or contact with.

YouGov research suggests that just 44% of people are aware that a retailer like Phones 4U could offer an upgrade if they had bought their phone contract through their mobile operator.

Additionally, just 21% of people interviewed placed Phones 4U in their “top three” list of companies that offer upgrades.

The TV spot features cameos from former Eastenders actor Dean Gaffney and features a humorous voiceover from Inbetweeners and Thick of It actor Alex Macqueen. Other activity for the campaign, which will run from this week until October, includes radio, outdoor, in-store, press and digital.

It was created by Phones 4U’s long-standing creative agency Adam & Eve.

Caspar Nelson, head of brand and communications at Phones 4U, says while the ad is a “little less polarising” and uses more “straight” humour than previous campaigns, he still feels the campaign will stand out.

He adds: “We know we stand apart [but we hope this approach will make] people see us as more irreverent and humorous than some of our competitors.”

“Our marketing will always stand out but we’re not reliant on some of the tactics we’ve used in the past, it’s a different type of humour.”

It is also hoped the campaign will boost Phones 4U’s awareness and consideration levels as it looks to increase its upgrade market share.

Phones 4U landed three spots in the Advertising Standards Authority’s list of the most complained-about ads in 2011, although only one of those ads was banned by the watchdog.

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