Sam Scrouther
Jul 4, 2016

SmarTone asks, when was the last time you smiled?

SmarTone has launched a branding campaign with the aim of being seen as more than a "purely functional mobile provider".

Client: SmarTone

Agency: TBWA Hong Kong

Market: Hong Kong

Name of Campaign: We’re for Smiles

Campaign Scope: Integrated campaign covering multiple channels spanning TV, OOH, online and social media.

Details: SmarTone has launched a new campaign to mark the introduction of its new Flexi-switch service, which gives customers time to better understand their actual data usage, and the flexibility to change their plan once within the first three months of a new mobile subscription.

“At SmarTone, we have always focused on understanding our customers’ needs in order to provide them with the most relevant services…our new brand campaign is a way to reiterate our commitment to understanding different customers’ needs and delivering real benefits to delight our customers and bring them smiles,” said Ms. Josephine Lam, head of marketing and sales at SmarTone.

The ‘We’re for Smiles’ campaign video depicts customers enjoying free rental of backup battery units, a software add-on that the brand says has blocked approximately 100 million nuisance calls since its introduction four years ago, and being catered to and taught about mobile phone usage by SmarTone’s ‘Smile Crew’.

Besides new services for customers, SmarTone wants to “bring more smiles” to its staff too, having recently introduced birthday leave for all staff.

SmarTone's Powerbank Free Rental Service

A website encourages customers to take advantage of the new Flexi-switch service, saying that “second chances are a great reason to smile!” and that customers are “free to have a change of heart”, promoting the service as being less restrictive than those of competitor companies.

SmarTone is also aiming to roll out family mobile plans for the summer period, to help families and friends to keep in touch while travelling, as well as running more workshops for all ages to learn how best to use their mobile devices.  

“We don’t want SmarTone to serve as a purely functional network provider," Lam said. "As mobile operators, we should create social and personal connections with our customers as we are a part of their everyday lives. At the end of the day, we want our customers to leave us with peace of mind."

Campaign Asia-Pacific comments: When the majority of network providers still have strict and inflexible contracts, it’s nice to see SmarTone taking a different approach and giving us indecisive and finicky customers a chance to make our minds up.

Although, while we’re being nitpicky, the Flexi-switch option is only applicable to those who have signed up for new subscriptions, and then only for the first three months of the subscription, meaning the service isn’t really helping anyone but the minority of people who are subscribing as completely new customers or swapping from another provider. Of course this isn't surprising, as most mobile operators have long focused on wooing new customers instead of keeping the ones they have. 

Having said this, the campaign kills two birds with one stone by smartly drawing attention to both existing and new TrueCare services. We like the depiction of various different types of customers doing all kinds of activities, paired with the diverse backdrops of Hong Kong surrounding them, that combined illustrate the distinct services that SmarTone can provide to cater to the different needs of Hongkongers.

Like they achieve with the smiley elderly woman in the advertisement—who is based on a true story of a lady in her sixties, who visits SmarTone daily to learn how to better communicate with her family—SmarTone and its ‘We’re for Smiles’ campaign hopes to make customers feel more personally connected to the brand.


Executive Creative Director: Esther Wong
Head of Art: Joseph Wong
Creative Director, Copy: Calvin Chow
Creative Director, Art: Louis Fung
Art Director: Van Ng
Copywriter: Tszho Chung
English Writer: Mikey Batt
TV Producer: Juno Kam

General Manager: Jan Cho
Account Director: Trina Kwan
Associate Account Director: Kaki Li
Senior Account Manager: Gerald Tam
Account Executive: Jonathan Wong

Head of Strategy: Terence Ling
Senior Strategist: Rochelle Wang
Data Scientist: Katherine Zheng
Director of Social: Karen Cheng
Content Designer: Jeco Chan

Head of Production: Anne Chan
Associate Creative Director, Digital: Joe Choi
Art Director, Digital: Debbie Fung
Digital Producer: Kirsten Zeng
Creative Technologist: Toby Ho

TV Production House: HELLONICK
TV Director: Nick Lim
TV Producer: Jeannette Lee


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