EE bids to turn volume down on rivals’ 4G launches with Glasto sponsorship

EE is set to launch a major marketing campaign around its sponsorship of the Glastonbury Festival, as it looks to blunt the impact of the roll out of its rivals’ 4G networks and corresponding ad campaigns.

EE Glastonbury

The mobile operator, which is switching the “official Glastonbury technology and communications partner” title from sister brand Orange, hopes its initiatives at the festival will showcase its 4G capabilities and encourage trial of its network at a time when consumers will be wooed by rival services. The Glastonbury Festival takes place from 26 to 30 June.

EE plans to install “the first ever 4G network at a UK festival” at Glastonbury, allowing existing customers to experience fast mobile internet speeds on site. The former Orange “Chill ‘n’ Charge” tents will now be emblazoned with “EE Recharge” and will allow customers and non-customer to recharge their phones and access WiFi powered by EE’s 4G network.

Like previous Orange Glastonbury sponsorships, EE will be creating the festival’s official free app. It will offer schedules, GPS-enabled mapping, updates, social network plug-ins, artist information and is understood to include live content for Glastonbury fans without tickets to access.

EE will build the festival activity into its above the line marketing ahead of and during the event. The sponsorship will be amplified through its social media accounts, with ticket giveaways and artist content.

Speaking to Marketing Week, EE brand director Spencer McHugh says the company “makes no apologies” that the sponsorship activity is similar to what the company has done before with the Orange brand, but adds the messages have evolved given the changes in consumers’ technology usage habits since the previous festival in 2011.

He adds: “We look for sponsorship properties and partnerships that help us demonstrate how good 4G is and showcase the possibilities it offers. With Glastonbury we are saying that wherever you are you can keep connected with EE.

“I don’t think I don’t think people are in the mindset at Glastonbury to sign up to a new phone contract there and then but it will definitely increase awareness of the brand and of what 4G offers.”

EE stole a march on its rivals to launch a 4G network in October last year after being given the green-light from regulator Ofcom to use its existing frequencies to launch the service rather than waiting for the outcome of the 4G spectrum auction.

Rivals O2, Vodafone and Three are set to deploy their 4G services in June, while BT is also readying a return to the mobile space after acquiring a segment of the 4G spectrum in last year’s auction.

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