An ode to connection: Telecom and Saatchi launch new heartstring-tugging brand ad

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When it comes to smartphone usage overseas, the tipping point appears to be approaching rapidly. And while New Zealand is slightly behind in the smartphone uptake stakes, Telecom and Saatchi & Saatchi are hoping to increase the numbers by tapping into the emotional appeal of the devices and promoting their ability to aid all kinds of communication with its latest brand ad, one of the first pieces of work new executive creative director Antonio Navas has his name attached to.

“This spot was about our belief that the growth in smartphones is not being driven by technology, but by something far more human: the very real and very deep human need for people to reach out and connect to the people and things that are most important to them,” says Kieren Cooney, chief marketing officer at Telecom. “The ad was a celebration of those everyday amazing moments of connection. It was also a recognition that in 2011 many of those moments are now happening via the screen of a smartphone, as we start to seamlessly use these little pocket-sized super-computers as a natural extension of ourselves, allowing us to share these emotionally-charged moments with anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

Saatchi & Saatchi’s chief executive Nicky Bell says Telecom’s communications at their best speak to what really matters to people: the importance of connecting with each other and the team are proud of this latest piece of work.

The ad was shot by Prodigy’s Matt Palmer on a Red Epic Camera, and Saatchi & Saatchi believes it may be the first TV ad shot in New Zealand with this state of the art technology. The Epic is Peter Jackson’s choice of camera for the filming The Hobbit and he has purchased eight of them for the production, and John Schwartzman ASC, the cinematographer movies like The Rock, Pearl Harbour, Seabiscuit and Spiderman said after using it “this is the best footage I have ever seen from any camera. Ever”.

Visually, it’s certainly delivered the goods for Telecom. And, just like its last brand ad Sunrise, Sunset, Saatchi & Saatchi’s sentiment certainly resonates with a big chunk of today’s modern communicators (some would say modern over-communicators). But service providers, almost without fail, are liked by their customers for offering good, reliable, affordable service, not for being your friend or ‘connecting’ with you in a brand ad or on social media (banks regularly seem to forget this).

Of course, in an industry where everyone is largely offering the same thing for similar prices, brand ads can help increase likability and create a point of difference from competitors‚ as T-Mobile in the UK could well attest, but given Telecom’s recent broadband overcharging troubles, the historical issues around Teresa Gattung’s ‘confusion as a marketing tactic’ comments and the flaming it received after the XT failure, you do have to wonder whether a heartstring-tugger showing the nice fruity side of a business that is supposedly losing the trust wars actually has its intended effect or simply calls into question the motivation for creating it (while BP’s recent campaign is nowhere near as polished and impressive as this effort, it could fall into a similar category, because it hopes consumers will look past the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the rising price of petrol, their dislike of commuting and their general disdain for oil companies and ‘Be Road Happy’).


Saatchi & Saatchi:

Executive Creative Director Antonio Navas

Creative Director Scott Huebscher

Creative Group Head Anne Boothroyd

Copywriter Jon Austin

Art Director Rich Robson

Producer Megan Robertson

Group Account Director Simon Wedde

Senior Account Director Michael Healy

Senior Strategist Ben Fielding


Film Company Prodigy Films

Director Matt Palmer

Producer Caz Hearn

Audio Post Liquid

Post Production Toybox


Chief Marketing Officer Kieren Cooney

Head of Communications Charlotte Findlay

Senior Communications Manager Arnna Findlay


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