By the grace of 4G: Vodafone puts Mad Mike’s life in the hands of its network

Vodafone hasn’t been shy about trumpeting the reliability of its 4G network over the last year. References to it have been scattered across billboards, included in the piggy sue ad and delivered through pre-rolls. However, saying something is reliable and setting out to prove it are quite different challenges. And the latter is exactly what the red telco is attempting do through its latest campaign via FCB.

To do this, the telco called on Red Bull stunt driver Mad Mike Whiddett to participate in a high-octane experiment.

Whiddett is seated in a car, with the windows completely blacked out and his only vision of the outside world comes through four tablets fixed to the inside of the windscreen.

Further upping the stakes is the fact that the stream fed to the tablet comes from four smartphones attached to the roof of the car. And to show that Vodafone really backs its product, the telco put the director of its 4G network, Tony Baird, into the passenger seat.  

Vodafone’s head of brand and insights Lou Kuegler describes this as the most nerve-wrecking campaign she has worked on in her 20 years in the industry.

“It was really such a brave campaign,” she says. “Even Mad Mike was a little nervous.”

The risk of stuttering stream wasn’t the only problem it was hoping to avoid, she says.

“The actual shoot was a high stakes game because unless Mad Mike actually nailed this stunt, we didn’t have a story,” Kuegler says.

“[The risk of] a blown tyre, a broken clutch and broken axel certainly raised the stakes – but it worked – and the 4G network delivered the vision Mad Mike needed to manoeuvre the car around the course with confidence.”

Interestingly, FCB first pitched this idea to Vodafone in 2014, but Kuegler says that the creative concept wasn’t suitable for what they were trying to achieve at the time.

“It recently came up during our discussions, and we just went for it,” she says.   


Client: Vodafone
Consumer Director:  Matt Williams
Head of Brand and Insights: Lou Kuegler
Manager Brand and Communications: Nileema Allerston
Brand and Communications Specialist: Michelle Lumsden
Head of PR: Andrea Brady
External Comms Manager: Elissa Downey

Creative Agency: FCB New Zealand
Regional Executive Creative Director: James Mok
Managing Director: Fleur Head
Senior Art Directors: Freddie Coltart and Leisa Wall
Senior Copywriters: Matt Williams and Peter Vegas
Creative Services Director: Jenni Doubleday
Senior Designer: Nick McFarlane
Senior Finished Artist: Anton Mason
Head of Content: Pip Mayne
Senior Content Producer: Sonali de Silva
Group Account Director: Karla Fisher
Account Director: Dave Munn
Senior Account Manager: Annabelle Reynolds

GM – Business Innovation & Strategy: Murray Streets
Senior Strategist: Hilary Dobson
Lead Editor: Andy Deere
Assistant Editor: Blair Walker
Editor ‘Behind The Scenes’: Corban Koschak
Photography / ‘Behind The Scenes’: Michael Braid
Head of PR / Activation / Social: Angela Spain
PR Senior Account Director: Joanna James
Brand Engagement Director: Ele Quigan
Social Media Campaign Manager: Lena Aziz

Media Agency: Y & R Media
Group Business Director: Kelly Badland
Senior Digital Planner: Lisa Clapperton

Production Company: Curious Films
Production Company Exec Producer: Matt Noonan
Production Company Director: Daniel Max
Production Company Shoot Producer: Briar Pacey
DOP: Andy Deere
Stunt Co-ordinator:  Stu Thorp
Safety: Willy Heatley

Lead Colourist: Peter Richie
Colourist ‘Behind The Scenes’:  Blair Walker

Sound Studio: The Coopers
Studio Producer: Penny Cooper
Sound Engineer: Jon Cooper

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