Editor’s Note: This post is part of a series highlighting cause marketing campaigns from around the world called ‘Global Voices’ and brought to you by Your Public Interest Registry. We hope our team of international contributors will shed insights into cause marketing in their home country and inspire you to expand your own purpose-driven horizons.
Virgin Mobile is the young kid on the block when it comes to the telco industry in Australia. Facing up against the big and established players, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone, Virgin Mobile has recently launched a campaign platform that clearly differentiates them from their competitors. Arguably, it positions them right up front in terms of shaping the mobile experience for their Australian market.
The platform is centered on a new online hub www.makingmobilebetter.com.au. This hub is essentially the mothership for a series of campaigns – you guessed it – all based on making the mobile experience better for their customers.
The campaign launched in July with a 45-second television commercial, featuring Glee’s Jane Lynch. It’s a funny, entertaining ad, in which Jane highlights some of the silly ways we use our phones. By duplicating some of these behaviours without the aid of a mobile phone, the spot highlights just how crazy some of the things we do are – from social media posts and sharing, to selfies, following and hashtagging. Check out the spot:
#mealforameal – turning a trivial action into a positive difference
The first initiative Virgin Mobile launched kicked off in August, #mealforameal, came from the insight that people like to use their phone to take photos of beautiful meals and then share them via social media. The marketing team at Virgin Mobile zeroed in on making that trivial action a better experience, by partnering with not-for-profit food rescue service, OzHarvest. Every time someone snapped a photo of their food and posted it to social media with the hashtag #mealforameal, Virgin Mobile donated to OzHarvest so they can deliver a meal to someone in need.
Through this unique initiative, Virgin Mobile’s aim was to combat hunger and food wastage by delivering 400,000 meals to vulnerable Australians through OzHarvest. Supported by television, outdoor, social media and digital display ads, the campaign generated a huge amount of social media chatter, with Jamie Oliver, as well as a number of Australia’s top chefs and food personalities jumping on board through their own social media channels and encouraging their followers to get involved.
Punching above their weight in social and driving sales
Recent results show that only weeks into the campaign, more than 170,000 food pictures have been turned into real meals via OzHarvest. Seven percent of social media users who saw the campaign interacted with it – 13 times higher than the industry standard engagement rate of 0.54 percent.
According to Virgin Mobile’s chief executive, August has delivered the highest sales for the company for the year, which suggests the campaign is translating into hard sales for the business.
R U OK? Encouraging customers to reach out to someone that may be struggling
Initiative number two was just launched this September in partnership with R U Ok? Day. R U Ok? Day is a not-for-profit organisation whose vision is a world where we’re all connected and are protected from suicide. Based on the theory that suggests there is power in the simple question – “Are you ok?”, the organisation aims to encourage and equip everyone to regularly and meaningfully ask “are you ok?”.
The decision to be a “conversation partner” of R U OK? Day takes aim at the tendency of people to connect with others only through social media rather than in person or via a phone call.
Launching the campaign in the lead up to R U OK? Day, 10th September, the telco encouraged people to reach out to others that may be struggling by calling and actually speaking to them. All Virgin Mobile customers were offered free calls on R U OK? Day
The campaign launched in the lead-up to R U OK? Day, with a video of Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson, with paid media following up.
Finding purpose and connecting with their customers
What I love about Virgin Mobile’s new platform and these two campaigns – is that the company is moving the conversation in the category away from the usual value proposition – into rich territory that aims to engage with people. Given their competitors’ comparatively large marketing budgets, Virgin Mobile have adopted a smart social-led strategy, which in these early days appears to be working really well for the business.
“Making mobile better” is a bold move in this category. It’s projecting our mobile behaviours back to us and suggesting we might need to reassess how we communicate. A tricky maneuver to pull off, but from an execution perspective, I believe they’ve hit the right notes – using humour and entertainment – and backing it up by facilitating two great opportunities to help people connect and make a positive impact.
Looks like the young kid on the block has come of age.