EE unveils ‘six degrees of Bacon’ launch ads

EE has today (30 October) launched the UK’s first “super fast” 4G mobile network and has unveiled its multi-million pound marketing activity to support the launch, starring Hollywood film star Kevin Bacon.

EE Kevin Bacon Footloose Apollo 13
EE cinema ad starring Kevin Bacon, revisiting some of his past acting roles

The multi-million pound launch ad campaign centres around the “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” logic game, which postulates that anybody in the world is just six connections away from the actor.

Steven Day, EE’s chief of brand and communications, told Marketing Week the concept helps demonstrate and connect the different services its new network will offer – from being able to download big files speedily on the move to its EE Film scheme, which will offer customers two for one cinema tickets and one movie to download or stream a week.

Bacon will initially appear in four to five different iterations of a TV ad, including a cinema spot that will see him re-enact some of his most famous roles including those from Apollo 13 and Footloose.

Each spot will feature the line “the new network for your digital life”. They will broadcast from 2 November into 2013.

The TV and cinema ads will be supported by the “domination” of every single digital out of home site on 31 October, featuring the brand’s moving logo. In the 11 launch cities – which include London, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff – outdoor sites will also feature creative with regional puns, such as “Goasis” and “Glasgooooo”.

Elsewhere the campaign will be backed with digital support on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and online display. Part of the campaign will include the remastering of popular YouTube viral hits, such as Fenton the dog, which will be sped up or made to look like Hollywood blockbusters in a bid to demonstrate the power of 4G.

Agencies involved in the activity include Saatchi & Saatchi for the creative, with digital and social elements created by Poke, media planning and buying through MEC, Publicis Chemistry handled multi channel communications including the refit of the company’s 700 high street stores, while the visual identity and brand strategy and positioning was developed by Wolff Olins.

Day says he hopes the campaign will make consumers feel a sense of “enablement”.

He adds: “The brand is refreshing, different, warm and approachable. Enablement is something we hope will be a takeaway as we want customers to understand they can be helped through their digital life and feel a sense of liberation.”

EE Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon
Kevin Bacon explains the ‘six degrees of Bacon’ in EE launch TV ad.

Last week EE announced the prices for its new service, which start at £36 for a 500MB a month allowance up to £56 for a 8GB a month allowance. The announcement was met with criticism online and a poll commissioned by Marketing Week found that 87 per cent of consumers found the tariffs to be “too expensive” given the modest data allowance.

Day admitted that some of the reactions to EE’s prices had been antagonistic in nature, but he argued that its network is one of the “most value-focused 4G offerings in the world” – especially when looking at the US, which has an entry level 4G service from 250MB.

He added: “Look, nobody expected everyone to jump up and down the high street doing cartwheels when we announced our pricing but at the end of the day the high speed, connection and services are worth £5 a month more.”

He also suggested the EE may introduce more high-specification tariffs later down the line to meet consumers’ data consumption needs.

Earlier this week EE’s rivals Vodafone and O2 both launched high profile marketing campaigns in a bid to deflect some of the attention away from the new network launch.

Rather than feeling worried about the cut through its rivals may have achieved days before EE’s launch, Day says the activity “clearly” shows how “defensive” his competitors are as they fear losing customers to the new service.

He adds: “It’s understandable as we are the only ones with a known 4G offering and they are on the very edge of confidence – they don’t know when they will get one and they do not have 4G devices. [The high profile marketing activity from rivals] is absolutely fantastic as it’s shown they have noticed [EE] and they are scared.”

EE launches today in 11 cities, which will increase to a further 16 cities by Christmas. It claims to offer mobile internet speeds up to five times faster than 3G services and also includes a fibre broadband offer, which will serve speeds of up to 76MB per second.

Click here to watch Steven Day on video explaining the concept behind the EE brand.

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