FEATURE2 February 2015

Hanging on the telephone

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It’s 30 years – almost to the day – that the first-ever mobile call was made in the UK, on 1st January 1985, using the Vodafone network. Since then, the fledgling mobile operator set up by Chris Gent and Gerry Whent in Newbury, Berkshire, has grown into a global colossus, with operations in 30 countries, network partners in over 50 more, and a brand worth nearly $30bn, according to Brand Finance, which ranked Vodafone as the 16th most valuable brand in the world in its Global 500 2014 league table.


The ad reflects a fundamental shift in Vodafone’s brand and communications strategy, explains Daryl Fielding, director of UK brand marketing and communications. “Not only does it convey a more ‘human’ side to the brand, but it also disrupts the trivialisation of the category, ” she says. As a counterpoint to the emotion, the ad also claimed that 77% of emergency services use Vodafone, and the end-line is: ‘Power to our emergency services. Power to you.’

The net effect, says Fielding, is to convey “a simple message that everyone can identify with – the importance of connectivity and the dependability of Vodafone’s network.”

The new, more ‘engaging’, approach to communications is a response to the maturing of the mobile market, she continues. “To date, mobile marketing has been driven largely by supply-side economics. But with penetration near saturation, the emphasis is increasingly on customers, and it’s becoming more and more important for us to figure out how to innovate ...