The T-Mobile UK team have a big challenge. How to cut through when you're the number 4 brand, up against 3 bigger competitors who are out-spending you (O2, Vodafone, Orange), in a low-interest category (people are much more interested in the phone than the network).
Well, early signs suggest that the latest brand communication may help. The innovative ad features 300 dancers breaking out into dance in London's busy Liverpool Street station. The reaction of the stunned public was filmed, along with their gradually increasing participation. The idea being to bring to life the new slogan, "Life's for Sharing". Click below if you're on the blog, or here to watch on YouTube.
I must admit, when the idea was first explained to me last year it sounded like "sponsored entertainment": an amusing film with the logo slapped on the end, and little link to the brand. But having the seen the result, it might just work...
1. Viral power
In just one week the 2 minute film has generated 1.7 2.2 2.8 7.0 million views on YouTube, after being premiered during on Channel 4. To put this into perspective, the last ad by brand leader O2 got 14,000 views. Almost 6,000 7,000 8,700 11,500 people have rated the film, with an average 5 stars. This is a cost effective way to get the T-Mobile brand noticed and talked about, something the brand really needs.
2. Linked to the brand
The nice thing is that compared to a lot of viral brand
communication, this one does actually link back to the brand idea. At
one level there is the shared enthusiasm of the crowd. But more clever
is the insight into how we react when we see something amazing. What do
we do? We phone, text or film the event with our mobile phone. And this
is what hundreds of people did on the day, and talked about in another film, that's been viewed a further 170,000 208,000 241,000 463,00 times.
3. Buzz factor
Beyond the YouTube views, the ad has also created buzz in the media. For example, C-List celeb Kelly Brook mimicked it and this was covered in the Daily Mirror.
In contrast with many viral adverts (think Cadbury's gorilla), this one feels like it is the start of something interesting, not just a flash in a pan. There is a whole channel set up on YouTube, and a teaser about a new section to come where the public can join in.
5. Feel good factor
In an earlier post I talked about how brands have 2 ways to react to the economic gloom. One is to "share the pain", and address it head on. But the other is to "entertain", and make people feel better. The feel-good factor of Mamma Mia has made it the most succesful film ever in the UK. And this communication from T-Mobile has that. Its uplifting, optimistic and positive. And boy, do we need some of that.