Vodafone to focus UK marketing on new web service

Vodafone is hoping to boost its brand credentials and attract younger consumers in the underperforming UK market, with a different marketing approach to the rest of the world.

Vodafone campaign

The mobile operator will launch a new ad campaign under its new global positioning “Power to you”, but the UK will be the first market to focus on pushing its new web service, Vodafone 360.

The campaign, which will have a heavy social media focus, is set to launch at the end of October when Vodafone 360 is made available in the UK market.

The “Red Heads” TV campaigns, created by the WPP-backed ad agency Santo will talk about the 360 service’s ability to integrate customers’ addresses and contacts from their emails to social networks such as Facebook. It will also carry the strapline “Power to you”.

Its UK agency Batle Bogle Hegarty is currently working on another execution of the TV ad.

Vodafone 360 will also be launched in eight other European countries before Christmas, and will be in all other markets by the end of next year.

In the rest of the world, a different TV ad has been created by WPP’s Team Vodafone focusing more generally on its new “Power to you” brand positioning. It will feature US actress Eva Mendes.

Vodafone global brand director David Wheldon, says it wants to become one of the “most loved” brands in the world.

“It’s a bit of rethink of our role in people’s lives. A real intent to become more human, more warm, more approachable and take away some of the stuffy corporate image that we know particularly gets attached to us in the UK,” he says.

Wheldon adds that it is hoping to attract more 20-something consumers. “You don’t want to be your dad’s brand in this category, neither do we want to be the Coca-Cola of mobile which is all things to all people”.

He says it wants to attract “progressive people” and social influencers.

Vodafone’s new global marketing push as part of its biggest shift in brand strategy in four years and sees it scraps the old tagline, “Make the most of now”.

As part of its new strategy, Wheldon says it is also looking to broaden its sponsorship focus on sports and music and move more into the arts and creating its own branded events.

“I would love us to do a bit more in the arts space than we do… I think you’ll see more ideas about empowering people and enabling them to be empowered,” he says.

“So, I could make up on the spot two or three good sponsorship events that we could invent. And I expect you’ll see us in the next year or so make some more interesting developments in the sponsorship arena.”

Wheldon adds that its speech mark logo, which has been tweaked throughout its eight year history, will remain, but in certain markets will become more prominent in its use, appearing without the Vodafone brand name written below it.

Meanwhile, Vodafone is the latest to secure UK distribution for the Apple iPhone and 3GS early next year. It closely follows news of Orange also signing a deal with Apple.


For review, don’t always read ‘pitch’

Stuart Turner

It was good to read that Julie Constable is intending to champion best practice (“The pitching process can benefit from a little more openness” MW, last week) but may I suggest an important addition to her agenda? This is to avoid, whenever possible, the use of the words “pitch”, or “pitching” when talking about an agency review or selection process.


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