2degrees explores communication with DDB in new brand campaign

This evening 2degrees will be taking over TV channels nationwide for 60-seconds as it rolls out a new brand campaign, via DDB, that shows how its services are an intrinsic part of everyday life.

Driven by the insight that communication is second nature, and your telco shouldn’t get in the way of what comes naturally, the campaign explores all the ways in which people, animals and even colours, communicate.

“Communication is happening around us, effortlessly, all the time,” says 2degrees chief marketing officer Roy Ong. “So we figure our one job as a communications company is to keep communication flowing, effortlessly.”

At the centre of the ‘Second Nature’ campaign is the idea of communication being second nature and it’s translated into a 60-second brand ad as well as shorter business category and retail spots.

DDB executive creative director Shane Bradnick adds the feeling of effortless communication is brought to life in the spot through the way it was shot, with a sense of natural momentum and laconic storytelling.

The brand campaign comes nearly 10 years after 2degrees arrived in the market and Ong says the campaign reintroduces it to New Zealanders with a fresh tone and an idea that will connect all of its different touchpoints.

“Our launch in 2009 was hugely successful and struck a very particular tone that resonated strongly with Kiwis,” says Ong. However, since then, he says the telco has established itself as a full-service telco—having acquired internet service provider Snap in 2015—servicing individuals and businesses nationwide with a seamless service so the way it positions the brand needs to reflect that.

Put simply, he explains 2degrees is going through a “brand puberty” stage, where it’s growing up and finding itself.

That coming of age was seen last year when its 2016 financial results showed 2degrees recorded its first profit. Its 2016 financial statements showed a revenue of $702.7 million and a $13.4 million profit. It came after the telco recorded a $33.1 million loss in 2015. 

When the 2016 financial statements were released, company chief executive Stewart Sherriff told NZ Herald its post-paid mobile customer base also grew by 19 percent.

“Last year was a turning point for 2degrees. Total revenue grew as average customer revenues increased, while network costs reduced as we completed a mobile network extension programme,” he said.

“It was also the first full year of 2degrees broadband, with customer numbers growing more than 100 percent as our full-service bundle gained traction in the consumer market and our Telecommunications as a Service (Taas) offering attracted large government organisations such as Ministry for Primary Industries.”

It’s been five years since 2degrees launched any major brand work, and Ong explains the telco market is a dynamic and a lot of time is spent marketing price, product or a response to what another telco is doing.

Because of that, it’s never had that single idea connecting everything, and reiterating the importance of one, the campaign was shown to employees yesterday so now everyone from the marketing and product teams to finance and legal teams can live it.

“This is what we stand for rather than it being a marketing campaign,” says Ong.

While the journey began for 2degrees 18 months ago, DDB has been alongside it since September last year, when it was appointed as the telco’s brand agency. The agency took the place of Special Group, which lost the business last July despite winning a pitch only seven months earlier.

“For the past 18 months, our focus was tactical, rational and about acquisition. But it’s difficult to stand out with that approach. This is set to change in 2018. With second nature we have a platform with which to deliver an emotional and consistent story for 2degrees – in a way that makes Kiwis sit up and listen” says Ong.

“The breakthrough on this came with the power of the single organising idea. That’s what DDB provided. I think this is the right story for 2degrees to be telling at this point in our journey, because communication is second nature and we’d like to keep it that way.”

When partnering with DDB, 2degrees was quick to make itself known as every agency team was brought in, from planners to creatives, to identify the right tone for the brand.

It’s not a new challenge for the agency as a big piece of long-term brand work with off-shooting executions can be seen in campaigns such as Lotto’s ‘Imagine’ platform. It’s also seen a number of executions including videos themed for Father’s Day and Mother’s Day.

The strength of the ‘Imagine’ platform is the fact its tone remains the same, and when speaking about the latest ‘Armoured Truck‘ video, DDB chief creative officer Damon Stapleton said:

“The reason the Imagine series has resonated so strongly with Kiwis over the years is because while it presents these fantastical, larger-than-life stories, there’s always a kernel of truth at the heart of it.”

With tone being a point that stands between audiences listening to a brand or ignoring it, Ong says it wanted to use humour without being the class clown. The result is a humour “for today” and DDB describes it as “humour with insight”.

It’s seen in both the 60-second brand video as well as the 30-second executions that focus on the company’s business categories. The first of these, ‘Clapping’, will launch in the coming weeks with a clever take on a human’s natural instinct to clap as a way to demonstrate appreciation.

It’s been rolled out alongside a retail campaign for the Samsung Galaxy 9, which highlights a unique expression conveying that communication is second nature. The approach will be seen in retail campaigns to follow.

While the new brand campaign’s goes live today the idea that communication is second nature was seen in the brand’s promotion of its Super Rugby sponsorship.

Called ‘Chatting Rugby’, the video pulls out social media conversations about rugby and combined it with 2degrees’ new humourous tone to give a fun take on rugby in New Zealand.


Client credits:
Chief Marketing Officer: Roy Ong
Head of Marketing Communications: Charlotte Johnson
Communications Manager – Consumer: Cameron Owens
Communications Manager – Business: Felicity Wyatt
Consumer Campaign Manager – Haley Ashwell

Agency credits:
Chief Creative Officer: Damon Stapleton
Executive Creative Director: Shane Bradnick
Creative Director: Mike Felix
Creative Director: Brett Colliver
Lead Business Partner: Karla Fisher
Senior Business Director: Carly Pratt
Business Director: Natalie Pierpoint
Account Manager: Viv Semmens
Planning Director: Lucinda Sherborne
Executive Producer: Judy Thompson
Senior TV Producer: Samantha Royal
Production Company: Finch
Executive Producer: Karen Bryson
Producer: Sarah Cook
Director:  The Bobbsey Twins from Homicide
DOP: Ginny Loane
Offline Editor: Tim Mauger
Colourist: Claire Burlinson

Post production online: Blockhead
Sound Mix: Shane Taipari, Franklin Road
Original Music: “Never be apart” composed and performed by TEEKS
Music Licensing: Jonathan Mihaljevich, Franklin Rd

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