O2 is launching an ad campaign that aims to “celebrate individuality” as part of a shift in marketing strategy at the mobile operator that aims to return it to its roots and help customers feel excited, rather than concerned, about new technology.
The spot, created by VCCP and running from tonight, will promote its new ‘custom plans’, a new way for contract customers to pay for their mobile phone, giving them the option to choose how much they pay upfront, how many months they take to pay off the balance and the ability to shift their tariff up and down on a monthly basis. The ad features a diverse range of people to show O2’s plans are as individual as its customers.
The launch follows research conducted by the brand, which finds 50% of consumers feels ripped off by fixed payments for their mobile devices, and 70% are more likely to spend money with businesses that offer greater flexilibity.
Speaking to Marketing Week, O2 CMO Nina Bibby says: “Our new ad for customer plans is all about individuals and we’re celebrating individuality.
“It is an example of where we are very much using data to understand and to drive the insight… We want customers to embrace and use mobile for all the great things it offers and this is a great way of giving customers the flexibility to do that in a way that suits their lives and their budgets.”
O2’s new brand positioning
The product-focused campaign is part of a wider marketing shift for O2 as it looks to get customers to reappraise the brand. Through extensive research with customers, O2 developed a new brand promise and strategy that aims to inspire customers to “use mobile technology like a window to the universe”.
That positioning, ‘Breathe It All In’, replaces ‘More For You’, which ran for three years and Bibby says “worked very well” for the brand. Despite that the team wanted “something that felt different, bigger and bolder”, especially since it was the first campaign since brand director Rachel Swift joined from John Lewis.
“We wanted to ensure our brand was fitter than ever and in a position to stand out like never before,” she says. “We wanted to really focus on what makes O2 unique as a brand; for us it’s about connecting with our customers at an emotional level, not just a functional level.”
The striking creative for the brand campaign includes a TV spot that explores the cosmos and the planet, narrated by spoken word artist George the Poet. That follows through to other media, with Havas developing a media plan that sees O2 advertising making its debut appearance on the Piccadilly Circus lights, as well as trying out social activity including a Snapchat Lens that uses sky recognition technology for the first time, in addition to content on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The brand and product campaigns are linked with the theme of the cosmos and will appear during the same ad breaks. For example, during the broadcast of the first Harry Potter film on ITV tomorrow, ad breaks will start with the brand ad and finish with the ad for custom plans.
The aim is to drive brand awareness and buzz, as well as consideration as O2 enters the crucial autumn period when mobile phone sales spike as new products come to market.
The decision to shift marketing strategy was a decision based on both data and gut feeling, says Bibby. “The data and the research helps us understand where our customers are and where society at large is. You need to understand that. But the trick then is taking that and converting it to something, playing a leadership role, and you aren’t going to get that from data and insight. It’s got to be both.”