Last week was a special one for mobile phone network Orange and its marketing director, Robert Fallow. While Orange celebrated its fourth birthday, Fallow celebrated his first year in office. Not one to do things by halves, Fallow marked both events not with champagne, but with a [pounds]7m branding campaign directed by Ridley Scott.
The ad features a series of beautiful and breathtaking images but the accompanying voiceover creates a feeling of unease. It suggests that technology will eventually rule our lives, replacing everyday pleasures and human companions to the point where "woman will not need man and man will not need woman". Then, in the final shot, the camera reveals the earth in the sky - suggesting we are seeing another world. The voiceover reassuringly explains: "Orange don't think technology should change the world, just make it a better place."
Some would say the ad was pretentious. Fallow, one of the most unpretentious men you could meet, acknowledges that the paramount advertising rule is keep it simple and reveal your message quickly.
"But the Orange brand is too sophisticated for that. It hasn't dropped its trousers from day one," says the 39-year-old Glaswegian.
Orange's successful past has, in many ways, made Fallow's job difficult.
"When I joined Orange, it had already been dubbed the brand of the decade. What could I do next? It would've been so easy to just come in and crank a handle, but much more challenging to move the brand on," he says.
While Orange has always focused on the future, with its 'The future's bright, the future's Orange' strapline, Fallow aims to take this further by giving the brand a technological emphasis.
To create the desired futuristic effect, Fallow enlisted the help of Scott, director of sci-fi films such as Alien and Blade Runner.
"I was aiming to generate the same level of curiosity as when the brand launched, when people asked, 'What is this thing called Orange?'"
Fallow says he was undaunted by the challenge to move the brand forward after its initial success.
"I'm a Scotsman, for God's sake," he says, a comment which underlines his tough nature and gritty determination - traits experienced by his ad agencies, past and present.
"I had some tough battles with Lowe Howard-Spink and WCRS but it all ended with mutual respect," says Fallow. …