Vodafone triples spend on ‘hyperlocal’ marketing after 'best ever ROI' ad campaign

Rosie Baker
By Rosie Baker | 3 September 2014

Vodafone is tripling its investment into what it calls “hyperlocal” advertising. It will run some 300 different creative executions across 220 metro and regional locations in its latest push. It wants ads speak more directly to customers and potential customers in each area. The telco says that might be an "arduous" approach, in terms of volume of work, but it pays back.

The roll out follows a trial running localised creative in five suburbs earlier this year.

Jana Kotatko, head of brand at Vodafone said the trial demonstrated that ads tailored to specific suburbs garnered better results and sales than a generic campaign.

From the trial, the network learned that saturation of media where it was running ads was an important factor so that people felt immersed in the brand, as well as having a solid retail footprint to back up the campaign.

Mapping out outdoor panel locations and matching copy that is contextually relevant to the the suburb is a “tricky beast” and took “sheer dedication” from Bohemia and Ogilvy, which developed the campaign, said Kotatko.

She told AdNews: “[So much personalisation] puts such a load on to creative and media teams but personalising a message and taking it to a suburb level cuts through a lot more than a generic message. When you’re a brand working hard to rebuild trust, that personalised tone of voice has an incredible cut through. It’s arduous but it pays back.”

Before, during and after the trial campaign, Vodafone surveys asked specific questions about brand consideration, perception of the network, intent to purchase as well as soft metrics like brand likeability. Post-analysis found that consideration jumped double digits and awareness was more powerful in areas where the creative was localised. And the brand claims the ROI was better than any mass campaign it has run.

The brand is deliberately taking a rational approach to marketing messages after realising that some of the important messages about the new network capabilities and products were lost in its 'Kidults' activity.

Kotatko said: “The reality is we're half way into our brand and business turnaround. We’re a very different business now," she claimed "and there are some really important messages we need to deliver. This time last year, we attempted a very emotional campaign with Kidults but what we found was that the new information we needed to push about the brand was being lost".

"Whether that was because it polarised or people were listening to the music, that was what was missing from the highly emotional creative that we were doing versus the current campaign when it comes to rational take out.”

Kotatko wouldn’t be drawn on the progress of the network’s ongoing creative agency pitch, of which the incumbent Ogilvy, is not part. It is thought four agencies remain in the running.

The outdoor campaign will run in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Gold Coast, Wollongong, Canberra, Newcastle, Central Coast, Cairns, Geelong and Darwin.

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