Mother launches first Orange business ads

Mother has developed a character called "the hard-nosed businessman" - a blend of Ricky Gervais' comical David Brent and Gordon Gekko, Michael Douglas' ruthless trader from the film Wall Street - to front Orange's first television campaign targeting the business market.

Orange is launching the £8 million assault to raise the company's credibility as a provider of mobile services to business people. Traditionally, Orange has positioned itself for a consumer audience.

The campaign, which kicks off on 20 March, uses the strapline "bright business" and will run for a year across outdoor, radio, digital and ambient marketing, including taxi receipts and mousemats.

Bright Business is the overarching brand Orange will use to position and differentiate its business products, which include mobile e-mail, interactive voice solutions and international roaming.

The push comes as all mobile operators look to target the potentially lucrative business market. The lead character, played by the stand-up comedian Neil Mullarkey, has such a hard-nosed business attitude that he wears a titanium nose. He is designed to be a satirical take on the most demanding possible customer.

"Our attitude is that business people can be consumers too. Ninety-five per cent of business communications are instantly forgettable and full of business jargon that the target audience doesn't understand," Mother's Ben Mooge said. "We have created an uber-businessman that the target market will identify with and laugh at in themselves or their boss. And the titanium nose is just funny."

The TV ads follow the hard-nosed businessman through work-themed comedy scenarios, including making his son build sandcastles in the shape of office equipment and leading his office staff in a spoof of Queen's Radio Ga Ga.

A series of nine television executions have been developed. The titanium-nosed executive also fronts a forthcoming burst of print activity, which will run in titles including The Guardian, The Times and selected business press.

Jeremy Dale, the vice-president of brand marketing at Orange, estimates Orange has a 28 per cent share of the business market, up from 17 per cent two years ago. He said: "When I started at Orange we were very highly targeting the consumer market. We have been providing services for our business customers, and now we want business advertising to reflect that."

The move is also in line with Orange's goal of generating larger percentages of revenue from non-voice services. In its results for the year ended 31 December 2002, 14.3 per cent of the mobile operator's revenue came from data services. By 2005, Orange is aiming to generate 25 per cent of its revenue from non-voice services.

Media planning and buying has been handled by Media Planning Group. The ads were written and art directed by Mother, and directed by Garth Jennings at Hammer and Tongs.

Digital creative work is by Poke and AKQA. Craik Jones is responsible for the direct marketing.