Vodafone unveils Facebook phone with a new TVC

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | September 07, 2011
Christened Vodafone Blue, the phone will provide one click access to Facebook. A TVC for the new phone will be launched on Facebook, as well.

Targeting the compulsive Facebook user, Vodafone has launched its new phone Vodafone Blue. The phone will wash away the accessibility blues of a Facebook user. With Facebook deeply integrated in the operating system, Vodafone Blue allows a user to communicate on Facebook, anytime, anywhere.

Vodafone Blue has a designated 'F' button that lets the user upload pictures, visit profiles, and update status at a single click.

The phone is targeted at the youth, hooked on to Facebook. Kumar Ramanathan, chief marketing officer, Vodafone Essar, says on its positioning, "Forty percent of the Indian population is under 19. That makes 500 million people. Young consumers love Facebook. This forms a huge demographic dividend to harvest."

A TVC was unveiled by Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, South Asia, Ogilvy, India, on the occasion of the launch. The TVC is a Broadway musical. It revolves around the life of a young adult, who is addicted to the social networking website.

Rajiv Rao, national creative director, Ogilvy India, says, "The entire TVC is about one boy, and his story. He is someone who cannot live without Facebook. He eats, sleeps, drinks, and sneezes Facebook. It is about how he uses Facebook."

According to Rao, having a protagonist for the TVC was Anuradha Aggarwal's idea. Agarwal, who is vice-president, brand communication and consumer insights, Vodafone Essar, tells afaqs!, "The TVC is also about mobility. The user is on the move, and Facebook is on the move, as well."

The campaign has an international touch to it. "The young audience on Facebook aspires to be international in their ways," adds Agarwal.

Commenting on the media mix, Agarwal says that Facebook is a real large part of the media mix. "Although, the expensive television media occupies substantial amount of the media spends, we have dedicated a sizeable chunk of the budget to online media. Besides, Vodafone will utilise cinema, OOH, and print, to promote the new phone. The imagery of the Broadway musical will be taken forward to the other media."

Maxus is managing the media mandate for the new phone.

It took a period of around two months to chalk out an entire campaign for the new phone, mentions Kapil Arora, senior vice-president and country head, Team Vodafone, Ogilvy India. "Through the communication, we are talking to a Facebook lover, a heavy social network user, and teenagers. There is this entire generation who likes Facebook. But, this generation is not bound to a work station. They are mobile," he adds.

This is not the first time that Vodafone has done a musical TVC. They have tried the idea with the popular BlackBerry Boys commercial. The concept of a central character is also not alien to Vodafone, if you take the pug and the Zoozoo into consideration.

Vodafone Blue is conceptualised and developed by Vodafone, in collaboration with Facebook. The company claims that the new launch has all the qualities of a classic smartphone, along with the additional Facebook function. It has a QWERTY keypad, optical keypad, optical track pad, 2.4" QVGA screen, and several other features. It will be made available at a competitive price of Rs 4,950 in the market.

In addition, Vodafone Blue will be launched in India, with unlimited access to Facebook for a year from the date of its purchase.

"The most unique thing about the phone is the experience," says Peter Becker-Pennrich, marketing director, terminals, Vodafone Group Plc. "The phone is Facebook," he adds.

The phone is manufactured by Alcatel. It will be available across 4,000-5,000 retail points, across the country. "If social networking is the area of growth, then we believe we will fuel the growth," concludes Ramanathan.

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