WCRS’s contentious Christmas campaign for the mobile phone network,
Orange, parodies competitors’ hidden charges.
The ‘asterisk’ campaign breaks on national TV, radio, press and posters
on Friday. It is designed to mock the extra fees and exclusions charged
by competitors which are not described in the main body of ads, but
become apparent when the customer is led to the small print, asterisks
or dagger marks.
Three 20-second spots, art-directed by Andy Gibb and written by Sean
Toal, each feature a bright orange asterisk. But instead of the usual
caption, such as ‘offer must end November’, the commercials carry a
range of what WCRS calls ‘absurd and honest’ headlines, such as ‘offer
must not end 31.12.96’.
Julian Hough, a group director at WCRS, commented: ‘Orange believes in
honesty and transparency. We have nothing to hide. And we think these
devices our competitors use act as a barrier to entry to the market.’
Conceding that the campaign may be seen as combative, he added: ‘We
normally provoke a big response from our competitors.’
Last Christmas, a similar campaign, pointing out savings Orange
customers made over those of their competitors, prompted legal action
from both Cellnet and Vodafone. The latter’s case, alleging trademark
infringement and defamation, ultimately failed in the High Court
(Campaign, 19 July).