Optus brings back Ricky Gervais in iPhone telco wars

By AdNews | 25 September 2015

Ricky Gervais is back starring in Optus ads, and when we say starring we mean he's still sitting in front of the camera speaking about anything other than the product.

He says he's back for even more money and he agreed to do even less work, but Optus is on board anyway because with a new iPhone launching today, telco price wars are already ramping up.

The ad, from content agency Emotive, will be distributed via TV, OOH, retail and a digital amplication that includes Optus' owned assets, social media, influencers and publisher syndication.

Optus head of brand and communications Corin Dimopoulos said the first Ricky video was a risk but it "paid off".

"Ricky clearly resonates with consumers who want a more authentic take on traditional advertising and we’re excited to continue to produce engaging and entertaining content," Dimopoulos said.

This is the second 'anti ad' the British comedian has done for the telco with the first being about the tie-up between Optus and Netflix, which was launched using digital and social channels exclusively.

That ad has more than a 1.7 million views on YouTube, making it one of Australia's most watched ads on the platform and it also took home several nominations at the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. One of its wins included Australia's only trophy in the Cyber category, with a Bronze Lion.

Emotive executive creative director Charlie Leahy said the agency's approach to content creation always starts with the audience.

"The first Ricky piece released earlier this year delivered over eight million streams with record sharing levels. The audience enjoyed it and wanted more," Leahy said.

"This follow up once again allows Ricky to take control of the scripts and deliver it with his globally renowned comedy style."

Optus director of active consideration, Karen Phipson, told AdNews earlier this year the aim of the campaign was to build association between Optus and Netflix – which have a streaming deal – and was distributed entirely through digital channels and primarily through Facebook.

In its first 10 days the campaign reached six million people, 2.8 times. But more importantly, for Facebook and Optus, are the business metrics. In this case, the change in association of Optus and Netflix moved from negligible to 36% over the 10 day period.

“Consumers know Optus as a mobile and broadband brand and with Netflix it was an opportunity to talk less about what we deliver, which is that broadband and mobile service, and more about the benefit of that, which is entertainment,” Phipson said.

We knew people didn't associate us as a big entertainment brand, so it was about saying we are an entertainment platform by showing and not just telling.”

Optus is currently in a pitch for both its creative and media accounts.

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