The more things change, the more telcos will be talking about their role in the future. The recently rebranded Spark has been trying to convince Kiwis to never stop starting. But back in 1991, a quintessentially post-modern poster series by Mark Adams for Telecom was all about how fax machines and cell phones helped keep people in touch, ‘from yesterday until tomorrow’.
Following its identity change on Friday, Spark released its first ad campaign over the weekend. Dubbed ‘never stop starting’ and created by Saatchi & Saatchi NZ, the campaign’s first 60-second TVC brings the imagery used in the teaser posters to life by featuring a protagonist walking toward and talking to the camera. As the ad progresses, the actor takes on a variety of different characters and speaks about the importance of starting anew.
With Spark livery freshly stamped over those of the corporate we used to know as Telecom, the organisation is expanding its Givealittle fundraising platform from charity to individual projects. Spark My Potential will pick out some of the projects listed on Givealittle and give them crowdfunding coaching and in some cases match pledges dollar for dollar.
27 years ago, Telecom was given its name. Today it’s officially giving itself a new one. As one of the country’s biggest ever rebrands rolls off the production line, we talk internal enthusiasm, teaser campaigns, customer sentiment, competitive responses and man-hole covers with Spark’s general manager of home, mobile and business Jason Paris and Spark Digital’s general manager services and solutions Jo Allison.
As Telecom poises to jettison its three-syllable moniker for the punchier Spark title, it’s worth looking at Vodafone’s 1998 rebrand that saw the company change its nationwide identity almost overnight, a move that is today considered by some as one of the best examples of rebranding in the nation’s history.
Telecom and Designworks unveiled Telecom’s new spark logo in 2009, and the move to fully rebrand as Spark—and change the orientation of the business from home phones and dumb pipes to a technology company and business enabler—has been out in the open for a few months. But now it actually has to make the change, and it’s taken the first, very symbolic step by removing the name from its HQ in Auckland.
Telecom has announced that it will emerge as Spark on 8 August. But the powers that be say the new name is just one aspect of the company’s transformation into “a confident, forward-looking technology company”. In an edited version of an article originally published in the May/June edition of NZ Marketing, Ben Fahy looks at the thinking behind one of the country’s biggest-ever—and most controversial—rebrands and the important role chief operating officer Jason Paris played in the process.
Ever since Telecom was legally precluded from using the ShowmeTV name, the industry has been curious as to what moniker would be introduced as a replacement. Since that debacle three months ago, Telecom’s digital ventures (TDV) unit has been very cagey about releasing any further information about its online TV offering. But now that all has been revealed, we sat down with head of programming and local content Maria Mahony to find out more about what Lightbox offers.
Telecom has revealed its new online TV serviceLightbox, offering a 30 day trial followed by a $15 per 30-day charge on signup.
Sky TV plans to increase its digital offering before the end of the year with the introduction of a subscription video on-demand service (SVOD), which will stand alone from Sky’s pay television services and be available to both Sky and non-Sky customers. This announcement comes shortly before Telecom is expected to announce the release of its SVOD services. So who will become the Netflix of New Zealand?
In a move that could cause a slight tinge of Orwellian panic in some, Telecom Digital Ventures (TDV) has confirmed that it is trialling a SmartHome prototype called DigiLife to determine if it has a place in the Kiwi market. Headed by Will Farrell-Green, the DigiLife team will over the next month monitor 20 to 30 Kiwi homes using the technology.
When Telecom unveiled ShowMeTV—a name that was ditched shortly afterwards—it was billed as the Netflix of online television in New Zealand. And now, in a seeming effort to create the Netflix of online gaming, the telco is launching a cloud-gaming streaming service called Aircade.
While Telecom finds itself in identity limbo and as 2degrees makes its first foray into the high-value business-owner market, Vodafone continues to sit atop the Kiwi telco pile as the network with the most active users. So, following Sunday’s release of Vodafone’s bowl cut TVC featuring James Rolleston, StopPress had a quick chat with the red network’s consumer director Matt Williams on the company’s consistency in an increasingly diversified and competitive market.
Andrew Hawley won his first piece of business—Telecom’s youth-focused mobile brand Pulsate—in 1999 when he was still at design school at Massey University in Wellington. 15 years on and the executive creative director and managing director at 72-strong “digital experience agency” Touchcast is still working with his foundation client, albeit in a much larger capacity, as well as with a number of other big Kiwi companies that have been drawn to its attractive combination of speed and quality. He tells us how that panned out and what makes the full service digital agency tick.
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.
Young & Shand has conspired with Telecom-owned Skinny Mobile to serve up a group dancing TVC that comes with a significant dollop of cheese. Playing out to Earth Wind & Fire’s 1978 hit ‘September’, the actors are shown lip-synching and dancing their way—sometimes awkwardly—through Owairaka Park in Auckland’s Mount Albert.
The telco that will soon be formerly known as Telecom has launched a new campaign to announce that it is now offering residential customers unlimited broadband data plans. And while this might seem like a smart move to separate its offering from its competitors and potentially attract new clients, the Saatchi & Saatchi-created ‘Giganaire’ TVC used to relay the message has divided public opinion, with some describing the spot as annoying, cringe-worthy and racist while others say it’s brilliant, hilarious and entertaining. Whether for good or bad reasons, the ad has gotten people talking and this has led to a YouTube clip of the TVC tallying up over 20,000 views (at the time of writing) since it was first launched.
Touchcast says digital installations like the one it sourced and ran for Telecom’s Cut & Paste design contest recently are a growing part of its business. That’s because audiences get deeply engaged, says managing director Andrewy Hawley.
In this series, we talk to Kiwi keyboard tappers that have managed to shift from the personal realm of blogging to create online media brands that are widely read (and in some cases profitable). In this segment, we chat to Mauricio Freitas, the founder of Geekzone.
Telecom plans to find a new name for its internet TV and movie service after similarly-named Kiwi companies raised concerns about ShowmeTV. The company says it could have faced a legal challenge and a prolonged dispute wasn’t in anyone’s interest.
Having already established a strong foothold in the personal consumer market, 2degrees has now set its sights on business clients with an online and outdoor campaign via new account holders Special Group. In addition to featuring the faces of several prominent business owners on billboards, the campaign has also resulted in several updates to the mobile service provider’s website. PLUS: find out why 2degrees is so keen to tap into the business market.
The ‘Spark Should’ page Telecom set up to take feedback on its name change later this year has seen customers complaining about a range of product and service issues as well as the new brand. The company says the page could become a permanent feedback mechanism.
Telecom continues to search for ways to reach a mobile-savvy audience beyond the traditional landline. Hard on the heels of announcing a name change to Spark and its planned internet TV and movie service ShowmeTV, it’s partnering with Spotify to offer the Premium version on certain mobile plans.
Unsurprisingly, last week’s news that Telecom would be changing its name to Spark led to much opining, some of it based around the fact that the rebrand is estimated to cost $20 million. And MacGregor Media has taken the opportunity to point out its cost-effectiveness, just in case they decide to do it again in a few years.
Just as the intertubes lit up with opinions when Telecom launched its spark logo back in 2009, so the intertubes are again abuzz with today’s news that Telecom was planning on changing its name change to Spark. Here’s what chief operating officer Jason Paris had to say about it.
Ever since Telecom did the splits back in 2011, there have been rumours that the ‘New Telecom’ might not stick with its name, which carries with it a fair bit of equity but also a fair bit of monopolistic baggage. And where there’s smoke, there’s fire, because Telecom has announced that it will change its name to Spark later in the year.