NEWS: Orange courts controversy with Xmas push

WCRS’s contentious Christmas campaign for the mobile phone network, Orange, parodies competitors’ hidden charges.

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).



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