In the summer of 2010 Vodafone UK rolled out an innovative, daring element of the brand’s wider global McLaren Mercedes F1 team sponsorship by offering its SME business customers the chance to have their logo on the F1 cars for the Silverstone Grand Prix.
Targeting small and medium sized business customers and tying the promotion in to Vodafone Business’ VIP loyalty scheme, this opportunity for brand presence on a global scale was one which none of the brands SME customers could have contemplated themselves as the cost of having their logos on Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button’s cars would have been prohibitively expensive.
The winning business received exposure to F1’s millions of global viewers and it also came with a pair of grandstand tickets to the event and a tour of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team garage during the 9 to 11 July race weekend.
The objective was to consolidate Vodafone’s position as a heavyweight player in the business segment of the mobile space and to demonstrate this by delivering genuine value and a unique sponsorship business benefit to its customers.
Realising the unique needs of small businesses allowed Vodafone to extend its ‘Power to You brand positioning beyond its traditional consumer heartland. The scheme became the focus of the brand’s advertising during the period of activation and was open to both personal and business customers.
The winner, Gary and his small outdoor event business ‘Maximum Adventures’, was also announced and promoted in leading business print media. Consumers were then taken on his exciting journey via a series of branded content videos which were pushed out nationally to business prospects targeting high engagement environments such as technology, sport, news and business. This was done via interactive ad units in relevant business verticals.
These films consisted of four 90-second videos, each helping to take our audience on Gary’s exciting journey. Using online video network Joost, the content was delivered with scale using custom experience banners that allowed consumers to interact with the videos in-banner within targeted environments.
Retention and acquisition were the twin objectives of this campaign so both a niche and a mass phased approach were used. The aim was to drive awareness, consideration and increase take up of Vodafone’s business offering. The creative execution call outs used direct, personalised communication to the existing business customer base to encourage entry.
The brand’s own results data show 2.8m complete views in the four weeks of the campaign across all relevant target business verticals and business connections rose by 20% during the campaign period and were the highest for the whole of 2010. Joost claimed this was its most successful banner campaign to date and helped Vodafone double their small business audience of 1.4m. Individual campaign elements also racked up successful statistics, with 66% of users chosing to play the videos in full (compared to a typical industry benchmark of 25%)
The scheme certainly challenged convention by leveraging a global brand’s international sponsorship via a small business lens. This campaign certainly demonstrates an understanding of some of the barriers, needs and challenges faced by small business owners – specifically growing their business and standing out in a crowded marketplace.
It also innovatively extended the ‘one in a lifetime experience’ tactic of sponsorship into a business proposition for its own customers. This campaign itself was a demonstration of Vodafone’s customer commitment and created a compelling proof point to drive new business prospects.