Vodafone recently called on Red Bull stunt driver Mad Mike Whiddett to help showcase the reliability of its 4G network. Warning: not to be viewed by those with a debilitating fear of stuttering streams.
Since December, Vodafone and Spark have been at each others throats in an ongoing battle about which telco has New Zealand’s largest 4G network. And Vodafone’s announcement that it has referred the issue to the Commerce Commission has coincided with some fresh blows.
In a new TVC, which appears to borrow from the long run scene in Forest Gump, a dishevelled and impressively bearded James Rolleston is depicted walking with a smartphone in hand while watching online video clips, before an on-screen notification informs him that he has reached the end of the internet. As with several of Vodafone’s recent campaigns, this ad again draws attention to the fact that Vodafone’s major point of difference lies in the extent and reach of its 4G network. But how much longer will Vodafone be able to rely on 4G as a point of difference?
Since first launching 4G connectivity last year, Vodafone’s network has stretched to over 47 regions throughout the nation. And now, in an effort to take this a step further, the red telco is adding a little international flavour to its offering by extending this service to several international destinations. Speaking at a conference held this morning at the Air New Zealand Customer Innovation and Collaboration Centre, Vodafone’s chief executive Russell Stanners and consumer director Matt Williams announced that the telecommunications company was launching two new initiatives: daily roaming packages in 17 countries throughout the world; and 4G connectivity in five countries. PLUS: see the new TVC.
Last month, when Vodafone launched its Gold Rush campaign for the release of the Samsung Galaxy S5, StopPress commented on how fortunate James Rolleston was to not have been given the same sadistic treatment as that thrown at Guy Williams for Telecom’s promotion of the snazzy phone. However, this observation may have been slightly pre-emptive because Vodafone’s latest spot, which although not resorting to physical abuse, will likely cause the actor a lingering sense of shame that can only come with seeing oneself—at primetime every night—with a bowl cut.
Kiwi ads have used many visual metaphors to illustrate the power of fast telco networks. Telecom had coloured flares and exploding balloons in their 4G ad, Vodafone took us back to the future in a speedy Delorean. US provider AT&T’s new spot sympathises with parents everywhere whose kids have been on a candy-induced sugar high.