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Vodafone use of media to gain credibility

Vodafone use of media to gain credibility

OMD UK campaign 


Music is a crowded territory.  Brands from all sectors rush to associate themselves with this passion of the masses to garner credibility.
For telecoms music is not just about the credibility, it is also an important revenue stream that represents three percent of their business.
This will continue to grow as their core business of voice and text is commoditised and new technology allows more content to be downloaded straight to your phone. 
Vodafone was the last of the telecoms brands to the music scene with O2, Virgin, Orange and 3 all having strategies in place, from a badged festival such as O2 Wireless or Orange's sponsorship of a music TV programme.

Our brief had two objectives:

Firstly, establish Vodafone as a brand with credibility in music thereby generating empathy.

Secondly, encourage consumers already with Vodafone to interact more with our music offering through the Vodafone Live portal.


However much agencies and clients would like to say it, brands are never going to “own music”.  Consumers’ own music. They decide on their level of participation and how they connect with it, be it, by downloading it to their ipod, going to gigs, forming a band or listening on the radio.
We would therefore create our programme from scratch, creating our own content, that we could distribute as we wished. The challenge is that the content must be better than everyone else and the distribution must engage with a wide range of consumers from extreme muso’s at one extreme to more casual fans at the other.
“Music is better when it’s live” was our creation insight, and anyone who has ever heard the rawness of the acts or felt the passion of the crowd at a gig will agree that this is based in a consumer truth.
All of the content we created would be live. This way, whilst we could not “own” the artists, we could own the exclusive live content. This also fits very nicely with brands “Vodafone Live” portal, one channel where consumers would access the content and experience the brands ‘Make the Most of Now’ proposition.
1. Creating the best content
We approached the six hottest bands currently in the UK, the Killers, Snow Patrol, The Zutons, Razorlight, Franz Ferdinand and The Pussycat Dolls and set up ‘secret’ live gigs all over the country at unique venues from the Liverpool Docks to the Royal Opera House.
Vodafone consumers were selected based on their current mobile music usage and invited to make up the audience; all agreed, despite many having to travel the length of the country in just 24 hours.
We worked with Gcap and Emap (the first time they had worked together on a commercial venture) to source DJ’s, record labels to secure artists to provide a constant stream of live acts and interviews and set up a recruitment drive to source up and coming talent.
2. Creating the best distribution houses all of the content produced, content from the gigs, interviews with talent, podcasts of the interviews and allows unsigned bands to post their own live music on-line.
Traffic is driven through a combination of word of mouth and digital advertising and promotions. But essentially this is ‘pull’ media, appealing to the actively involved fan.
We need to push the content out to the broader music fan, both to up the campaign’s reach and drive traffic to the portal. We identified the core channels where consumers interact with music. 
Vodafone TBA is a series of six AFP’s running once a month, on Channel 4 repeats E4 and features on T4 making it the biggest ever AFP on Channel 4.  The Vodafone Live Hour is an hour-long radio show devoted to live music broadcast on 55 stations on Monday nights, for a whole year.
This content was made exclusively available on 3G Vodafone Live free to show consumers the ease in which the service can be used. In October we hosted The Vodafone Live Music Awards, the first exclusively live music awards ever in the UK.
This is the culmination of the first six months of the activity and the ceremony will be broadcast live on Channel 4, all 55 radio stations and mobile TV simultaneously
The multiple platform strategy has certainly worked.
- 200 unsigned bands have signed up to website and placed their own material on it
- 15,000 consumers have come to the gigs
- 60,000 have streamed 3G content from to their mobile
- on average 330,000 people watch each Vodafone TBA and it keeps growing
- 425,000 tuned in to see Razorlight on Brighton Beach
- 627,000 tune in every week to the Vodafone Live Hour. 
The Content has been taken further, appearing in Vodafone’s consumer assets from it’s ‘Choice’ magazine with a 240,000 circulation to in-store display in the 347 Stores nationwide, ensuring music reaches consumers at every relevant Vodafone connection.
Our Tracking scores have also shown success.  Despite the strategy being only 3 months old, our MWB ‘Positive Music Association’ scores have increased by 12% putting us ahead of  02, Virgin, 3 and T-Mobile, all of whom have established campaigns.

This long-term strand of Vodafone’s communication strategy has already shown that if you create great content, consumers will come to you and will change the way the interact with brands.

Not just seeing your communications, but engaging with them.


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