Following its highly debated ‘Big Tony’ TVC, Spark has rolled out round two of its new brand campaign, via Shine and Colenso BBDO, which continues the focus on emotive story telling by creating micro-moments with its offerings.
A series of five 15-second spots were released this week, each with the intention of recreating little slices of human life. Senior brand and communication manager Kate Thomas says it was important to reflect the everyday side of Spark’s offerings and the “moments of magic” that technology can enable. She calls them “micro moments”.
A group of school girls are seen laughing at a video while waiting for the bus, a family is shown Skyping relatives in another country, a pair of women celebrate the first booking on their website and a man is crying at something on TV. Thomas says the last video was particularly moving because the man was, in fact, crying and didn’t expect someone to walk in on him.
Big Tony and his daughter also make another appearance, dancing to music in the car.
Thomas hopes the telco’s customers, and the rest of New Zealand, will see themselves in the pieces because it is talking about a broader cross-section of New Zealand.
“I really feel that there will be something everyone finds charming, or funny or something they can relate to,” she says.
Each moment is dedicated to a particular offering from Spark, including Spotify, Lightbox, Web Builder, fibre and WiFi; however, Thomas says the technology has not been made front and centre.
Similar to the strategy in the first ‘Big Tony’ TVC, Spark wanted to tell stories in an emotive way and Thomas says the next stage will take a more rational approach to talk about the products and services.
In August, Spark will release the next layer to the campaign, which will see the talent brought in to talk about product, services and the benefits it has in their lives.
A key thing the team wanted to achieve with this campaign, Thomas says, is consistency. She says while Spark wasn’t all over the place in the past, there are a few things that went “a bit rogue” and weren’t necessarily aligned with the business and its strategy.
“How we turn up in store for example has never been aligned with anything else,” she says. “Now we are much more aligned.”
She credits the move to Clive Ormerod, who joined Spark as the general manager of marketing after six years at Nike in the UK.
When the telco released the ‘Big Tony’ TVC, Ormerod told StopPress one of the most important steps in the change was ensuring all its staff embraced it.
“A big part of this strategy was introducing the initiative to our people first. It was about getting our team to understand why and giving them a reason to really believe in it. There was film that went with that and there was internal storytelling. Shine did all of that,” he said.
It’s an effort Thomas also makes comment on, saying for her, “it feels like it’s such a big moment. Not just for the branding comms and marketing team but for Spark as a whole. And the business is really behind it”.
How Spark fronts itself has already been seen in the feedback received on Facebook for the ‘Big Tony’ TVC. Thomas says 80 to 90 percent of the feedback has been awesome, however, as expected, it also created some debate.
A number of people raised concern over the way the Big Tony character was shown wearing headphones and listening to music while working on a building site. People questioned whether or not it went against workplace health and safety.
Thomas says before the campaign went live, it anticipated what customers might have feedback about, so it felt confident about doing it. If people felt strongly about an issue, Spark wanted to be able to have that conversation with them.
“It’s important for us to know what our broader customers or New Zealanders think, so we were really keen on making sure we did respond to the issues.”
She says when it came to the building site scene, it consulted heavily around the health and safety, and there were two consultants on site.
She also says Big Tony’s character is positioned as the foreman of the site, and is never around the heavy machinery or operating it while listening to music.
“We were very careful to make sure he was placed well away from both those specific environments,” she says. “But in order to tell the story of the solo dad looking to connect with his daughter it was important he was sneaking a few moments of his time at work to listen to the song and understand it.”
A spokesperson from WorkSafe New Zealand says it noted Spark’s assurance that it was filmed in a controlled environment.
“Whether it is appropriate or not to wear headphones would depend on the specific working environment. Given that you only see brief moments in the advertisement it’s impossible to judge with any certainty whether it would create a safety concern.”
Despite this, the Advertising Standards Authority has received one complaint raising an issue about health and safely. Once it has received responses it will be placed before the Complaints Board.