Magazine article Marketing

ANALYSIS: Mobile Phone Advertising Enters a New Era - as Mobile Telephony Firms Mature, Their Advertising Is Moving beyond Taglines to Promote Higher Usage, Writes Ravi Chandiramani

Magazine article Marketing

ANALYSIS: Mobile Phone Advertising Enters a New Era - as Mobile Telephony Firms Mature, Their Advertising Is Moving beyond Taglines to Promote Higher Usage, Writes Ravi Chandiramani

Article excerpt

Mobile phone advertising is poised to command the airwaves once again. T-Mobile and ^O2, the brands replacing One 2 One and BT Cellnet, unleash their launch campaigns next week, aiming to woo consumers with the respective taglines 'Get More' and 'See what you can do' (Marketing, April 18).

With their emphasis on features and functionality, the taglines are a far cry from early mobile advertising, when drives such as 'Who would you like to have a One 2 One with' aimed to carve distinctive personalities for each brand.

But they reflect a market in which advertisers are facing rapid change. Handset penetration in the UK now stands at more than 70%. Hence average revenue per user has supplanted active subscriber numbers as the currency for measuring success and driving shareholder value.

And so the two new brands enter a landscape where the onus is less on customer acquisition and more on retention and leveraging the most valuable customers. As former One 2 One marketing director Tim Yates puts it: 'The challenge is to drive consumer insights to ensure your high-value customers are treated the right way. It's more of a fish than a trawl for subscribers.'

Both T-Mobile and O2's taglines are calls to action. 'Call-to-action taglines can work well to drive the core business,' says James Kydd, brand director at Virgin Mobile. 'But there's an awful lot of corporate thinking in the development of taglines that doesn't put consumer resonance at its heart. The 'Get More' positioning is a global initiative, but it needs to be rolled out to be relevant to the UK consumer.'

It's no longer just good to talk or to text. Technology now allows operators to offer a raft of services such as traffic information, text updates and downloadable ring tones. Operators insist that's just the tip of the iceberg: 3G phones will enable much more.

'There are some massive brand launches alongside the challenge of marketing radically new services,' says Orange's UK acting head of brand Bruce McKinnon. 'We always strive to communicate the human benefits.'

Vodafone last year introduced the tagline 'How are you?' 'It opens a dialogue with the customer,' explains Vodafone's brand and channel marketing director Colin Morley. 'Vodafone has always been known for its reliability and quality. …

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