Orange in GBP 30m ad blitz


Orange is to spend £30 million on advertising through the rest of the year, the largest integrated brand campaign in its history.

The refresh, which runs across all media with the strapline ‘I am’, opens Saturday (July 5) with a 60-second television commercial.

The idea behind the campaign, worked on with creative agency Fallon, is that people define themselves by experiences and contacts. With the campaign, Orange, as communications provider, claims its part in enabling customers to develop their personal and work lives.

The ads consist of a series of statements from individuals about experiences that make them who they are. The first wave features unknowns. The second wave, of long-format print ads, features niche celebritres such as novelist Rose Tremain.

Orange will also make good use of its product exclusives and network tariffs in the campaign. Early executions include ‘I am’ ads for Sony Ericsson cameraphones, memory cards and Dolphin deals.

UK brand director Justin Billingsley said Carphone and Phones 4U, as well as non specialists like Woolworths, were "excited" about new point of sale material.

Billingsley also claimed the £30 million ‘paid for’ advertising will make up just 10 per cent of the "conversation" Orange has with customers. It claims changes to 120 customer touchpoints, so the ‘I am’ concept runs through all customeer service, point of sale, billing and customer communications.

Orange UK chief executive Tom Alexander said the campaign consciously addresses existing Orange customers.

"That is essential. Because retention is key, and we also want this to be like a conversation between Orange users, overheard by other network customers."

Alexander added the brand overhaul was the second rung on the ladder of Orange’s reinvention in the UK as customer champion.

It follows the announcement of its back-to-basics strategy last month, which will see it cut 450 middle management jobs, adds 60-odd stores and 500 service staff and migrate its Indian call centres back home. It is also investing heavily in its basic 2G and advanced HSDPA network infrastructure.

The next "rung" on the ladder, ahead of Christmas, is expected to be the launch of new multi-play services from Orange UK, as well as a full review of its broadband offerings.

Alexander said: "The agenda we’ve already communicated is the first rung on the ladder. This refresh of the brand is the second rung. The ‘I am’ campaign is absolutely crucial to winning the hearts and minds of our customers.

"When used in the right, our brand is the most powerful, unique and inspiring entity in our armoury. Over the past few years, it simply has not lived up to its potential in the UK. ‘I am’ changes that."

The campaign opens in the UK and will be replicated across 26 Orange markets through the year.

Orange spent £20 million on advertising in the first half of 2008.