Vodafone’s telco tear-jerker gets a fist bump after winning Colmar Brunton’s most impactful ad of 2014

After a year of judging new brand ads in New Zealand, Colmar Brunton has announced that Vodafone and FCB’s festive ad ‘Dinner for two’ has taken out the award for 2014’s Most Impactful Ad, with Samsung’s G5 Days and Nestle Purina’s ‘Herding Cats’ also claiming big fist trophies for the most persuasive and most enjoyable awards respectively. 

Since launching its ‘Do your thing better’ brand a few years back, Vodafone has generally looked for laughs rather than warm fuzzies (although it managed to tug a few heartstrings with its Warriors stunt on mother’s day). But it went back to heartland telco marketing territory for its Christmas push and decided to focus on the emotional power of connection. And it won the December Ad Impact Award for its efforts. 

Liz Wilson, head of consumer brand and comms at Vodafone, said at the time: “Christmas is a time when friends and families get together but sometimes it’s not always possible to be with all of those you love. We wanted to celebrate this time of connection and show how, with a little help from technology, you can be together even if you aren’t physically close.”

Frontman James Rolleston had proven himself in both comedic and serious roles. So playing the loved-up boyfriend wasn’t much of a stretch. And Colmar Brunton’s senior account director Harriet Dixon says the advert was highly effective, with the story creating high levels of enjoyment throughout and doing an awesome job to break through the clutter amidst plenty of other Christmas themed ads.  

“With its trademark style and tried-and-true casting, viewers agreed that the ad was well branded to Vodafone and had creative that was highly believable and easy to understand. The ad did well to play off viewers’ emotions, leading to the highest passive engagement score we have seen all year. The emotion, content and delivery of the creative resonated well with consumers, making the brand seem more appealing and scoring significantly higher than our norms.”

And in the hyper-competitive telco market, that’s exactly what you need. 

Samsung understands the power of sporting endorsements, both of teams and individuals, and its ad with Israel Dagg showing off the full range of features of the GS5 took the September Ad Impact Award and proved to be the TV ad with the highest persuasion score for 2014.

Each scene in the video, which was conceptualised by Colenso BBDO and shot by Augusto, places emphasis on a different perk of the device (and makes a point of showing some features that Apple phones don’t include). And Dagg is shown speaking on the phone in the shower, using it to measure his heart rate, taking 12-megapixel photographs and watching videos.      

“Providing new information and pointing out the differences between the S5 and other smartphones on the market is highly motivating, with the majority of viewers indicating this ad made them more likely to buy Samsung,” says Dixon. ” … Samsung’s ad performed extremely well and exceeded norms. Viewers enjoyed watching the ad so much, nearly half said it was one they would talk about with friends … The attempt to point out the differences between the S5 and other smartphones on the market also appears to have been successful, with most viewers recognising this ad contained different information to other telecommunications ads. This persuasive campaign is a real jewel for Samsung, with New Zealanders finding it interesting, distinctive and involving.” 

Samsung followed this up with another clip featuring Dagg using the Gear S during the All Blacks’ trip to Chicago. 

Nestle Purina, Assignment Group and Robber’s Dog’s ‘Herding Cats’ for Tux took runner up in the June Ad Impact Awards, but Dixon says its enjoyment score was off the charts and higher than any other ad in 2014, so it was recognised for that achievement.

“Their humorous take on the age-old war between cats and dogs really resonated with viewers and kept them watching.” 

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