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giffgaff user-generated advertising campaign

giffgaff user-generated advertising campaign


giffgaff is a new mobile operator, which launched in November 2009.  It’s positioned as a different kind of mobile operator that not only listens to its customers, but involves them in everything they do.

Without call centres, without big budget advertising and without hidden costs, the network is in a league of its own and is simple and affordable to all.

The idea for giffgaff was born from the way we have all embraced social media and use it daily; buying and selling belongings (eBay), educating ourselves and others (Wikipedia), socialising (Facebook) and also engaging with businesses and influencing product development (Starbucks, Dell, Microsoft). This is the power of social media and the opportunity for giffgaff.

giffgaff is an ancient Scottish word that means mutual giving or ’you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’. This really sums up exactly what it is.. giffgaff enables its customers (through an online community) to help each other.

Whether it’s answering questions about the service, helping others to work out issues with their using mobile phones, or giving their two penny’s worth on important decisions for giffgaff. Every effort from its customers will earn a financial reward. Easy.

Oh yes, one more thing. giffgaff also offers customers extremely competitive pay as you go (PAYG) call rates (8p a minute) and also the first ever truly unlimited bundled packages (goodybags).  

giffgaff’s community centric principles meant there were some unique challenges planning a marketing campaign. Firstly, its members would have to be at the very heart of it all. Second, giffgaff’s staunch view on mobile operators with large advertising budgets meant that we needed to do something fun and creative that would grow organically.

This all left the giffgaff team with a significant challenge; enable, incentivise and encourage a fun and light-hearted social media campaign that can be executed by its customers. Easier said than done.


giffgaff created the tools, literally, for customers to help advertise the mobile service using their own creativity. The tool hire section of the website was designed to inspire customers to create funny video clips as well as engaging with members of the public in a more direct guerrilla style.

These tools were available to all customers during the launch stage to promote giffgaff in the absence of traditional marketing avenues. hosted 13 quirky and fun tools for customers to hire and use in video, later to be posted on video sharing sites such as Youtube and Vimeo.

The tools available were very quirky. Popular tools that were hired by customers include: The Pink Gimp, The Cuddle monster, The Musicle and Captain Stress relief.
These budding video producers/actors were incentivized by free calls and texts for a whole year.

giffgaff had to be very careful to offer tools that would stimulate a positive response from its customers and also members of the public. After all, as well as promoting the brand using social media sites, it was also very important giffgaff’s customers had fun while making their videos.


The implementation stage was 100% managed by customers. giffgaff managed requests for the tools and sent them out. That’s it.


The results speak for themselves. giffgaff customers relished the opportunity to engage in a  people powered marketing campaign:

•    146 videos on youtube
•    Which have been viewed 477,633 times
•    With an average increase of over 20,000 views a week

Giffgaff on the whole has signed up:
•    3000 active community members, with 20% of them involved in running the company

The giffgaff team were humbled by the positive response from its customers and the speed in which the community has grown.

To say thank you for all their hard work, giffgaff held an award ceremony on April 21, 2010 for the producers of these videos and all giffgaff customers. At the event giffgaff gave away £25,000 in prizes.

The awards were broken down:

1. Best use of a tool, picked by giffgaff Marketing – Adam Ronan’s ‘giffgaff ghetto musical’


2. Most tweeted on Twitter – Dan Howell’s ‘How to use a gimp’
3. Highest viewed on Youtube -  ‘Amazing Phil’

4. Favourite polled in the Community – Ben Shorter’s ‘Ben Hires a Photobooth
5. Funniest polled in the Community – Theo Dufay and James Killcross’ giffgaff Lady Film Noir’

Each of the category earned its respective winner(s) £5000.

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