T-Mobile is the largest and most ubiquitous company leading the way in guerrilla style advertising. Their advert called ‘Dance’ (released on 16th of January, 2009) was created by lead design company Saatchi & Saatchi.
The advert won numerous awards for its unusual style including ‘Ad of the Year’ 2009. Lysa Hardy (2010), Head of Brand and Communications at T-Mobile stated that they were extremely excited by the accolade, and that it was the first time a telecoms company had ever won the award, this shows how well received the advert was by advertising peers and customers alike.
The advert involves 350 dancers descending on Liverpool Street Station in London on the 15th of January 2009; all dancing in synchronisation. It begins when one gentleman begins dancing alone in the middle of the station to Lulu’s ‘Shout’ song, more join in gradually as different tracks are introduced, prompting alternative dances.
The advert’s slogan ‘Life’s for Sharing’ was perfectly portrayed by showing people filming the dance and speaking on the phone to friends about it. It was the perfect idea to showcase the company’s light-hearted side, as well as creating a completely innovative experience for commuters.
The ‘Dance’ advert paved the way for more adverts following on in a similar fashion from T-Mobile, including ‘Sing-along’ which included the company taking over London’s Trafalgar Square and launching a mass karaoke gathering. 13,000 people turned up for the event and over 2000 microphones were handed out to the crowd. The rock singer Pink also made a guest appearance. Also created by Saatchi & Saatchi, the advert was released on May 3rd 2009. It was filmed in the same way as ‘Dance’ with 24 hidden cameras, and was then edited and released within 48 hours of the original filming. They created more experiential adverts by travelling around the UK to main city centres including Sheffield to host more sing a long’s, using social media to alert customers and fans of where they were going to be next, inviting them to be a part of it.
T-Mobile also leads the way in social media as a form of advertising. The success of ‘Dance’ was also shown via the internet. The company took to ‘Facebook’ and ‘YouTube’ to engage with the fans of the ‘Dance’ advert to create media and public interest for the upcoming advert and to also encourage them to appear at the venue if they were available. T-Mobile still uses and updates the fan pages on a daily basis, keeping their presence at the forefront of people’s minds. ‘Life’s for Sharing’ is T-Mobile’s ‘Facebook’ and ‘YouTube’ page name which have both generated a large number of fans with ‘Facebook’ leading with 26,027 fans and ‘YouTube’ having 16,906. The adverts were released simultaneously on ‘YouTube’ and TV, and because of the unusual aspect of the advert people hailed it a global viral sensation, making ‘Dance’ one of the most viewed videos of all time with over 25million hits. Instead of only uploading the actual adverts (as some companies do), their database on ‘YouTube’ now includes hundreds of videos, including ‘behind the scenes’ footage of the adverts and customers’ video contributions. Though they use social media T-Mobile are not using it to its full potential as they do not answer queries or comments by customers.
The latest T-Mobile campaign from this series of adverts is called ‘Welcome Back’, which features a group of T-Mobile customers, staff and also a voice orchestra greeting people coming through Terminal Five’s ‘Arrivals’ entrance at Heathrow airport. This is the first ever ‘flash mob’ production done in an airport and it works very well. The advert was released on the 29th of October, 2010, but by the 6th of January 2011 it had already received just over 6million views. These adverts are known for their style – using customers and creating interactive brand experiences as well as emotionally engaging with the viewer.
The above advertising may be considered to have been conveyed using ‘guerrilla’ tactics, but it is now becoming more commonly known as ‘experiential’ advertising, as its main focus is to provide the customer with an experience and connection with the brand.
T-Mobile is a good example of how guerrilla advertising has evolved and where it is now. They didn’t use much technology, but if this was a small business (like Jay Conrad Levinson had intended guerrilla marketing to be for); it would in all probability not have been filmed or put onto the internet, they would have only relied on word of mouth. Perhaps it would have taken place as a localised event and only a limited number of people within the area would have seen it or have known about it. When T-Mobile added cameras it took the marketing strategy into an uncharted area of guerrilla advertising.
According to Marketing Magazine (2010 page 15) the ‘Dance’ adverts and the ‘Sing-along’ adverts contributed to a 12% year-on-year increase in footfall for T-Mobile. The increase of sales shows how well the adverts have worked on potential customers. Most telecom company’s adverts are generally identical to each other. Commonly they state their different types of contracts and rates that their company supply. These T-Mobile adverts don’t mention any rates or services, only that life is for sharing and a way to do this is via your mobile phone. This allowed them to stand out from their competitors and become the telecoms company that people were talking about all over the world.