Vodafone creates joyful film to Mark Ronson track to launch 5G

Brand has ditched Martin Freeman in favour of more 'modern' approach.


Vodafone has created a film featuring a Mark Ronson and Alicia Keys track as it launches a major campaign for its new 5G and unlimited data plans. 

"Be unlimited", by Ogilvy UK, marks a shift in Vodafone’s creative strategy and sees the company split with actor Martin Freeman, who has fronted its advertising since 2017. The latest campaign comes at a "massive turning point for the brand", which is the second mobile provider to launch a 5G network in the UK, according to Jon Tapper, head of advertising at Ogilvy UK. 

Set to Truth, a song featuring Keys and The Last Artful, Dodgr from Ronson’s new album, the spot shows a dance performance by a woman and more than two dozen of her lookalikes. All the women are dressed in the brand’s signature shade of red but in different outs, which were designed by 10 young British fashion designers from colleges including Central Saint Martins, Glasgow School of Art and Winchester School of Art. 

The work was created by Adam Claridge and Adam Ronan, and directed by Si & Ad through Academy. Wavemaker is the media agency. 

Spotify sponsorship

The campaign will include a sponsorship of Spotify’s Discover Now feature, cinema ads and out-of-home takeovers at sites including London's Piccadilly Lights. Vodafone is also revamping all of its 400 stores, packaging, website and app.

Vodafone aims to reposition itself as a British tech brand with a "greater sense of innovation and modernity", Tapper said. This means it needed to take a different tack from the series of ads starring Freeman. 

After Ogilvy won Vodafone’s UK ad business in 2017, it enlisted Freeman to play an anti-hero called "Mr Interruption", who highlighted the problems that Vodafone was helping to improve. 

"[Vodafone] was in a moment of needing to fix the things that were actually creating problems for their business. We needed to make Vodafone a liked brand again," Tapper said. "The Martin Freeman campaign was pointing a finger at the ills of the category, but also bringing in a loved British icon who could bring humanity to the Vodafone brand." 

'Joyous and positive'

Now, with the launch of 5G, Vodafone is taking a more "joyous and positive" tone in its advertising, Jules Chalkley, chief executive creative director at Ogilvy UK, said. 

There is also a greater focus on craft and creativity, as seen in the costumes that showcase young British talent. Si & Ad also decided to use 27 real women in the video rather than digitally replicate the main dancer. A wig-maker created more than two dozen wigs for the cast.

"There’s no digital fakery," Chalkley added. 

The ad was shot in Poland with a mix of British and Polish dancers. The main woman was cast in Paris and embodies a "cool best friend, someone you’d want to hang out with", Tapper said. 

Vodafone will release the next spot in the campaign at the end of the summer, which will be "of the same world but bringing a different twist to the storytelling each time", Tapper explained.

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