Media: Strategy Analysis - Orange opts for simplicity in 3G push

Brand: Orange 3G

Client: Orange UK

Brief Launch: Orange's entry into the third-generation mobile market

Target audience: Mobile phone owners

Budget pounds: 6.5 million

AGENCIES

Communication planning: Simon Wilden, Naked Communications

Media buying: Initiative

Creative: Mother

Outdoor buying: IPM

Direct: Craik Jones Watson Mitchell Voelkel

Interactive TV: Weapon 7

STRATEGY Orange was to be the third brand to enter the third-generation mobile market. 3 had been around for some time and Vodafone had recently joined it with a high-profile, high-spending pre-Christmas burst. So, by definition, Orange's target audience was not early adopters but mainstream consumers.

When buying technology products, the mainstream audience's primary needs are support and reassurance, so Orange's role was to make 3G adoption easy. The product offers supported this positioning - a two-for-one deal on 3G handsets, three months' free trial of 3G services and back-up from in-store phone trainers.

The campaign had to be clear and simple to follow, yet it also needed to communicate three messages. Orange also needed to talk about the product benefits. Media and communication planning had a big job to do to keep it simple. So "simplicity" became the central thought.

Vodafone and 3 had already done a great job of introducing the public to 3G technology and its benefits. Orange's key focus was to be the company that makes it easy for people to adopt. Not only did this fit with the launch timing, but it was entirely consistent with ongoing Orange brand behaviour.

Interpreting this meant the solution became stranding messages within separate media to retain clarity. The campaign had three layers: TV and large-format posters set up the theme; radio, newspapers and smaller-format posters established the offer strands; bespoke magazine creative tapped into people's passions.

EXECUTION

- Television TV was used to set up the approach and to drive brand preference, with interactive providing depth and dwell-time to support the offer.

- Interactive Creative extended the theme from the spot, adding significant levels of product and offer detail, and delivered a piece of brand entertainment. This was Orange's first use of interactive TV.

- Big-format posters Used to set up the overall approach.

- Six-sheets, national press and bus sides Delivered the key supporting offers one by one.

- Radio Amplified the two-for-one offer with a national promotion through Virgin which utilised a video-call mechanic to deliver product showcasing.

- Magazines Tapped into the audience's passions. Collaboration between Mother and Initiative led to creative developed specifically for each title.

- Direct Direct response press advertising and online focused on customer acquisition.

RESULTS

It's too early for results. Naked had to make the communication easy to consume, which meant stranding messages by medium or format rather than running a copy rotation across a multimedia campaign. Interactive TV allowed people to explore the offers and services in a piece of genuine brand entertainment and magazines ran bespoke copy to really connect into passions that will drive uptake.

- The Work, page 28

THE VERDICT - Russell Place head of strategy, Universal McCann

With the arrival of Orange, the land-grab for 3G subscribers is well and truly on.

This is a big moment for Orange and a dream brief for Naked. In a market that is increasingly competitive and commoditised, the reputation Orange once enjoyed for innovation (including media) needs reinvigorating. The budget is sizeable and Orange has an array of agencies that can deliver the core communications strategy.

With the technical and subscription issues that have dogged 3G to date, Orange has probably arrived at just about the right time. Most consumers don't care about 2G or 3G, they want their preferred content at the right entry deal. In this context, it is understandable how "simplicity" became the thought driving the creative.

However, this thought doesn't translate convincingly to use of communications.

This campaign needs to do more than just be clear and simple. This is a content-rich, dynamic market and passively messaging with advertising is unlikely to be enough to deliver cut-through, unless it's concentrated.

To match its product and brand promise, Orange needs a strategy that interacts, engages and rewards. Without this, it becomes a "me too" brand in this market. While the plan hints at this with some interactivity and a radio promotion, these elements feel insubstantial.

Whether "simplicity" is right in media terms also depends on whether the audience definition of "mainstream" is acceptable. Most likely, the take-up of 3G services will be via evolution, not revolution. With evolution in mind, continuity of communication is important to maximise the opportunity for acquisition via churn. Spending £6.5 million in five weeks feels like an extravagance. Finally, it would have been good to know how DM has been used to engage Orange's customer base and how all communications linked through to the point of conversion.

The execution is robust, with access provided through a variety of media.

By expertly layering messages, creative is relevantly distributed.

However, instead of a total communications plan, what we have is a solid media plan. The strategy feels flat and lacklustre. While the layering of messages is familiar for Orange, the lack of relevant creativity will fail to set it apart.

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