Vodafone/ ‘The future is exciting. Ready?/ Team Red, WPP
Last week Vodafone unleashed a new global identity onto the world. Gone was the brand’s strapline since 2009, ‘Power to you’ and in came the more forward looking ‘The Future is exciting. Ready?’
According to the mobile phone company, the new branding was designed to communicate the mobile phone company’s belief that ‘new technologies and digital services will play a positive role in transforming society and enhancing our quality of life over the years ahead.’
The campaign has launched in 36 countries with its new strapline presented in local languages, although the 'Ready?' part will be presented in English. The company’s ‘speech mark’ logo, first created in 1998, has also been snazzed up and given a new 2D visual which will feature on many of its assets.
This branding activity is supported by a slick 60-second spot aiming for an epic, global feel, directed through Ridley Scott Associates and supported by the mysterious sounding ‘Team Red’, a cross-functional team from WPP specifically set up for the project.
The ad, ‘The Story of Hello’, features people all over the world through the ages saying Hello to each other in different ways: two members of a tribe rub noses, a group of women in traditional Hindu dress clasp their hands in pray position, bow and bid each other ‘Namaste’; an eighteenth-century couple exchange letters; and as we move through the centuries we watch a diverse mix of people from around the world discover a number of new technologies that help them greet each other. The ad’s parting message is ‘However you say hello, we’ll be there’. The visuals are accompanied by upbeat track ‘Changing’, by Sigma featuring Paloma Faith.
Critics have pointed out that Vodafone’s new strapline is almost too close to its one-time rival Orange’s ‘The Future is Bright’ and comparisons are inevitable. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s now a whole generation of Millennials and future customers who are not familiar with WCRS’s 1994 classic ad slogan.
The brand’s new strategy has also been rigorously tested and is based on firm foundations. The network commissioned YouGov to conduct an opinion poll of almost 13,000 people in 14 countries to review the extent to which the public is optimistic, or pessimistic, about future prospects. Despite multiple global threats, respondents of all age groups believe ‘their own living standards, and those of children, will have improved 20 years from now’, and that ‘technology and innovation will have the most positive influence on the future over the next 20 years’.
It is challenging to create a campaign that resonates with consumers in 36 countries, and although the ad doesn’t feel particularly original, it succeeds in conveying its positivity about the future. The reaction that the ad has received on social media so far has been largely positive.
As a building block that demonstrates how Vodafone values its customers as they journey into the future, the campaign’s first spot appears to be hitting the mark.