The Life of Bruce and Brian: 2degrees and TBWA\’s animated approach makes big Ad Impact

Youtube VideoAfter taking out the big one at the Marketing Awards last year, selling its wares to over 580,000 customers and bringing home a few other weighty accolades in its 18 month history, 2degrees and TBWA\ are already well-accustomed to winning. And it can add another trophy to the box sitting in Rhys Darby’s attic after the new Bruce and Brian spot was judged the winner of the March edition of Colmar Brunton’s Ad Impact Awards. 

“Rhys Darby’s voiceover instantly links these ads to the brand. Add to that a really distinctive look and feel, ‘sit forward’ interest levels and really clear messaging, and you’ve got a winning combination,” says Jacqueline Ireland, Colmar Brunton’s managing director. “The upfront and tongue in cheek humour is so distinctly 2 degrees, and it’s great to see this carried through as the campaign develops. This is also one of the most persuasive and motivating ads we’ve seen all year, driving great brand appeal with new, different and credible information.”

241 people were surveyed in March, 133 of whom had seen the 2degrees ad, which was the only solid performer of the new ads that went to air in March across all the aspects Colmar Brunton looks at (branding, engagement and response).

Youtube VideoWhile this comparative, more explanatory animated approach is a departure from the brand ads of the past, 2degrees’ chief marketing officer Larrie Moore says focusing on products and educating the market—and trying to balance that with humour and entertainment—is a logical progression. And while it may be different, he thinks it remains true to the core values and has managed to maintain its cheeky challenger brand personality with a rather pointed commentary of what it deems to be the underhanded minute-stealing tactics of its un-named but all too obvious competitors. And because Darby’s voice is now so recognisable, he believes viewers know that it’s for 2degrees instantly.

“People don’t know the detail of what they’re paying. We have to educate the market in a very simple way… So it’s got to break down into pieces.”

And this, he says, means the Carryover Minutes and Pay Monthly offers will be the first of many appearances for Bruce and Brian, who will be wheeled out to explain the various 2degrees offers and how they differ from those of its competitors.

While he wouldn’t discuss numbers, or what those upcoming ads would focus on, he says there’s been very good response from the market to the first lot and “before and after are looking pretty good”.

Sarah Williams, group account director at TBWA\, says it was important to find the right tone of voice for this more specific phase of the brand’s evolution. But, like Moore, she says the animated spots, which were created by Digipost, perfectly combine some of the cheekiness viewers have come to expect with an effective explanation of what she feels is a very compelling offer.

With recent customer numbers indicating 2degrees has had over 580,000 sign ups, or around 11 percent of total mobile market, Moore believes there’s still over four million people who are paying too much to keep in touch. The company started out in the pre-pay market, because that’s where it thought New Zealanders were getting the least value. And it’s still there, with its most recent ad for its new Combo Pack going live recently. But this lack of value is certainly not confined to the pre-pay market, he says, and it’s now starting to gain a foothold in the more lucrative post-paid and business markets. So it looks like Bruce and Brian might be kept busy in the coming months.


ECD – Andy Blood

CD – Connan James & Craig Farndale

Creatives – Chris Childerhouse & Carl Lough

Agency Producer – Marg Slater

Animation – DigiPost

GAD – Sarah Williams

AD – Mark Wilson



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