Media: Strategy Analysis - Media beathes life into O2 promotion

Brand: O2

Client: Tom Sutton

Brief: Drive acquisition, reduce churn and promote the new Happy Hour

service

Target audience: Young socials

Budget: £3.5 million

AGENCIES

Media: ZenithOptimedia, Marie Carey

Creative: Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest

Event marketing: village@zenithoptimedia, executed by LIME

Digital: Agency Republic

STRATEGY In an almost-saturated market, the mobile phone brand O2 wanted to drive acquisition and retention. O2 Happy Hour - free texts, MMS and video between 7pm and 8pm - ran as the sole marketing communication in July. The integrated campaign aimed to create a 360-degree brand experience to leverage the Happy Hour message and create a real buzz.

EXECUTION

The implementation had to be fresh and different across all channels, creating a "clear blue space" for O2.

- TV: The core role for TV was to differentiate O2 from the competition. Blipverts built on O2's brand stature and gave O2 break domination via a programme-led strategy targeting 16- to 34-year-olds. A 30-second spot ran on key satellite channels between 7pm and 8pm.

- Outdoor: Outdoor aimed to amplify the Happy Hour message. A 48-sheet, six-sheet, plus bus-sides and Underground drive penetrated urban hubs, while ambient channels in bars - bar screens and pint glasses - brought the message to life.

- Online: Online creative developed by Agency Republic extended the TV creative and had an urban focus, reaching four million people across major portals such as MSN, AOL and Yahoo!.

- Press: As part of a regional partnership with Metro to surround key cities, O2 had regular ownership of the television listings, which included backwashes flagging up the 7pm to 8pm Happy Hour.

- Experiential: A tangible brand experience was created with a physical O2 Happy Hour across eight cities within the UK. In the O2 Oxygen Event, teams of O2 hit squads targeted cool city bars between 7pm to 8pm during Thursday to Saturday, giving away shots of oxygen. O2-branded vehicles also handed out cocktail books. And consumers were also told about the free taxi initiative (in London and Birmingham), whereby O2-liveried cabs were free between 7pm and 8pm throughout the month of July.

- Radio: O2 took control of the radio airwaves with a two-week promotion across Capital's network of local stations.With live DJ reads, it also drove footfall into areas where the Oxygen Event was taking place. Metro advertorials created further hype as well as allowing data capture via a competition that gave away O2 handsets.

RESULTS

Key business metrics were maintained or exceeded. Tracking for July showed O2 leading the way in terms of connections, market share and network preference for the core target audience. From opinions captured from the event, the communication was reinforced and consumers enjoyed the "freshness" of the activity; 30,000 oxygen hits were delivered in six days.

THE VERDICT - Ivan Pollard, The Ingram Partnership

In a market that is getting increasingly "samey", ZenithOptimedia set out to help O2 engineer a fresh piece of bait to hook new users.

I love the idea that this campaign used conventional media as the bedrock - TV, outdoor, posters and press - to get visibility for the promotion. I also love the fact that it used this conventional media in a smart way.

For example, the TV advertising made use of five- and ten-second blipverts in key breaks at what would actually be "Happy Hour" between 7pm and 8pm.

So, good, solid, sensible use of core channels - but how did it take it that bit further?

The added magic in this campaign was the way ZenithOptimedia chose to amplify the effect of the advertising campaign by creating "experiences" of its Happy Hour in eight key cities. We all do stunts. We all do experiences.

But I liked the fact that these were all tied to the core offer - they all amplified the message.

The creative work used for Happy Hour was beautifully crafted to be consistent with the ongoing campaign and yet make the key message sing out loud and clear. And what is more, the media campaign both fed off and into this creative execution. Top bombing.

This worked - at least on me. The day Campaign rang to invite me to review this strategy was the day that I had just switched from T-Mobile to O2. Honestly. It's true.

I cannot say the Happy Hour did it for me but I am sure it contributed to making me feel that O2 was a better place for me to be.

Nor can I say I "experienced" anything other than good, old-fashioned advertising. Obviously, I am not cool enough to be in a bar with beautiful people making me breathe heavily. But the fact that the advertising was enough testifies to this being a smart, well-executed media strategy.

And the reason this media strategy deserves four stars is that it did the basic things well. Good media weights, put together sensibly, used with panache and intelligence and all working well together. Good work.

My only issue with the strategy was that nothing in it seemed to dial up the business angle but I guess business people fall into the broader catchment of the media campaign.

SCORE: 4/5.