Ad Nut
Jul 18, 2016

Any sufficiently advanced telco service is indistinguishable from a commodity

From Australia: 'Thrive on', for Telstra by The Monkeys

Ad Nut has been very busy lately chirping angrily at Pokemon Go players who wander too close to Ad Nut's oak tree, but took some time out to watch this branding video for Australian telco Telstra, which debuted last night.

Pardon. Ad Nut should have said "techco" instead of telco, because the company "is evolving from a telco to a techco", according to a blog post by Joe Pollard, the company's group executive for media and chief marketing officer. Thus the new campaign, she continues, "presents the wonder and magic of technology and shows how it can bring joy to our customers in a more human, innovative and trusted manner".

Ad Nut thinks "techco" is unlikely to stick. However, awkward attempts at word coinage notwithstanding, Ad Nut understands the intent behind the campaign. Faced with commoditisation, mobile carriers believe they must try to forge emotional connections with their customers. When two or more competitors offer essentially the same service for essentially the same price, the thinking goes, perhaps a touch of emotional loyalty will help stave off 'churn'. 

Is that true? Ad Nut's not sure, but doesn't envy Telstra, or any mobile carrier, for having to face the challenge. The video is full of memorable moments and even some gorgeous imagery. The voiceover, delivered by Australian Slam poetry champion Phil Wilcox, is particularly impressive. Yet when the ad invokes a well-known quote from science-fiction author Arthur C Clarke ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"), Ad Nut can't help but note that most consumers don't consider a strong mobile signal to be magic. The problem is they don't consider it at all unless it's not working or it's time to decide whether to switch carriers—thus the cynical rewrite of the Clarke quote that headlines this post.  


Agency: The Monkeys
Production Company: Revolver
Director: Simon McQuoid
Post Production: Fin
Photography: Toby Burrows
Media: OMD
Design: Interbrand

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