Why embracing purpose helped O2 boost campaign ROI

The telecoms giant decided to take its support for those facing data poverty up a level with the release of a Christmas card gifting 7GB of free data.

Virgin Media O2 MW Awards 2023
Source: Virgin Media O2

Data poverty leaves millions facing social exclusion due to little or no internet access. Having signed a three-year partnership with digital inclusion charity Good Things Foundation to create the UK’s first national databank, Virgin Media O2 decided to take its support up a notch amid the punishing cost of living crisis.

The brand had two audiences to address: those facing ‘data poverty’, as well as existing and prospective customers who favour ethical businesses.

O2 teamed up with agency VCCP to produce a Christmas card with 7GB of embedded data, more than enough for the average monthly mobile user. Some 300,000 ‘Christmas sim cards’ were produced containing a festive QR code, enabling the recipient to request a voucher code or share the link. The card featured an interactive map showing databank locations, including 10 O2 stores.

A TV ad told the story of the ‘Snowgran’, made frosty by her isolation until a young neighbour sends her a special Christmas card containing data. The advert was supported by a wider campaign including outdoor, social and audio. O2 also offered all Big Issue vendors free databank data.

Over the three-month campaign, the company gifted more than 193,000GB of free data to those facing data poverty. The campaign became O2’s best performing from a PR perspective, generating 510 pieces of media coverage across 31 national titles. The purpose push resonated strongly with O2’s high-value audience segment, as well as moving the dial with target customers.

Moreover, O2 experienced a 25% uplift in brand campaign ROI versus the first National Databank campaign, helping the telecoms giant scoop the 2023 Marketing Week Award for Brand Purpose.