Brand aid

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There are two principle objectives to marketing: selling a product and communicating a brand. It sounds straightforward, but in practice it is both multi-layered and convoluted.

All the major players in the mobile space hawk their wares across a wide range of media and are increasingly looking to promote their brands with abstract advertising messages, intended to lodge in consumer minds and form some kind of emotional attachment.

The UK mobile market is saturated, with penetration at 123 per cent, according to a recent Ofcom report. Customers are inundated with mobile offers, and are wise to them, so brand is a useful differentiator.

Orange’s ‘I am’ campaign, launched in July, is a case in point; it is abstract and intended to ingratiate itself in the public consciousness.

Initial confusion and skepticism at the ads has given way to a better understanding of them as the message has become clearer, judging by opinion voiced on the internet.

It cost Orange a cool £30 million for the initial schedule and was put together by elite advertising agency Fallon, with a brief to recreate some of the tech cool and mystery of Orange’s seminal ‘The future’s bright, the future’s Orange’ campaign, with which it debuted in 1994.

Orange is the first to admit it has failed in recent times to replicate, and reflect in its service levels, the success of its early marketing. Since its £25 billion sale to France Telecom in 2000, Orange has become unwieldy and service has slipped – hence new UK managing director Tom Alexander’s back-to-basics plan.

Full feature available in Mobile News issue 423 (September 22, 2008).

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