Case Study - Vodacom Essay

BUS4016S – Promotion and Advertising Management Case Study: “VODACOM” In May 2006 Vodacom implemented its new wave of memorable, typically South African adverts (Vodacom Case Study, 2007). The campaign was initially started in an effort to deal with the up and coming issue of mobile number portability. The idea of being able to change cellular service providers while maintaining your mobile number was going to be institutionalised for the first time in South African history.

This case study will cover a number of factors which made this campaign so successful, as well as focusing on other similar campaigns and there impact on the South African market. The case study will be compartmentalised into five segments; each focusing on the aspects which make up the various campaigns. The strategic objectives behind the Lucky and Lucky marketing campaign: The primary objective of the campaign was initially posed in the form of a question: “How do we (Vodacom) leverage customer service as a competitive advantage, where mobile number portability seemed inevitable” (Vodacom Case Study, 2007).

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In other words Vodacom wanted to highlight its superior customer service to reduce the number of port-outs (individuals leaving the service provider for another, while maintain their current cellular number) and maximizing the number of port-ins (individuals joining the service provider from another, while maintain their current cellular number) when mobile number portability was institutionalised. Thus they wanted to put forth an image that Vodacom was a consumer-orientated technology company. This was the initial concern of Vodacom’s which sparked the Lucky and George campaign. As the campaign progressed it grew in strength and popularity.

This prompted Vodacom and its advertising agency, DraftFCB, to utilize these two characters to address various other issues within Vodacom’s products and services offering. Each of the campaigns deals with one of these various issues. However there is a main premise which each of these campaigns seems to follow. The ‘Two Types of Consumers Dilemma’ is that premise. Vodacom identified that there were two types of consumers: the techno-natives (those who are completely at home and comfortable with technology; and those, mostly older, individuals who are not so adept in using technology and struggle with it.

Also rather than expose their ignorance these individuals stay quiet, thus not benefiting from the full advantage of the technology on offer. These two types of consumers are personified in the duo of Lucky and George. This is an issue for Vodacom because it forms a barrier to their ability to sell to these particular individuals’ better and more sophisticated products, services and applications (Vodacom Case Study, 2007). In each of the campaigns these two premises are a constant feature, as shall been seen further in this case study. Target audience:

The target audience of these campaigns can be broken down into four groups. The first is those individuals in society, mostly over the age of 35, who struggle with technology and are not using technology to its full potential due to either their ignorance or stubbornness. The second group is those who are comfortable with technology though do not understand the full benefits of using Vodacom as a service provider. The third is individuals who use Vodacom as their service provider, though like the techno-natives mentioned above, are unaware of the various benefits that being part of Vodacom offers.

The final group is prospective Vodacom client who are currently unsatisfied with their own service provider and are thus looking to utilize another. The Success of the Lucky and George Campaign: Much of the success of the various Lucky and George campaigns can be linked to Vodacom’s marketing past. The Lucky and George campaign is memorable and follows on from Vodacom’s previous string of unforgettable characters, each of whom seem to endear themselves to the South African psyche. The personification of techno-illiterate South Africans, in the form of Norman Anstey, is testament to this.

Norman Anstey is a much loved and comical icon of South African popular culture. The other characters, such as Joel Stransky and Breton Paulse, demonstrated the size of Vodacom though also their even bigger heart. A statement that is intended to further illustrate their commitment to their customers. The Longevity of the Campaign: Lucky and George’s humour and realness are both factors which give this campaign its longevity. Obviously the campaign will not last forever, but as long as there are people who struggle to fully utilize the technology which is available to them the Lucky and George campaign has relevance.

The Contributions of the Campaigns and the Campaign Devices to the Overall Brand Positioning and Personality of Vodacom: As a whole the campaigns and their various devices have created brand attributes especially around customer service and value for money (Vodacom Case Study, 2007). The campaigns have also further entrenched the idea of Vodacom as South Africa’s leading cellular provider because of the fact that these campaigns give this statement substance. They demonstrate why this is so. How Vodacom has not only the best coverage, deals and broadband but is also a customer-orientated business.

Mediums Used in the Campaigns: Television was the primary medium of communication utilized in the campaigns. It was chosen because it is the ideal medium to create to mass awareness. It also creates a big brand persona and builds brand credibility, similar to what occurs when Joel Stransky, Breton Paulse, and Ryk Neetling appear in the advertisements. Retail or in-store advertising was the next chosen medium. In the various walk-in service centres cut-outs of Lucky and George were used to provide a friendly, familiar face to customers as they entered the stores.

This was intended to demonstrate Vodacom’s big heart, or focus on customer care. Campaign 1 – “Walk-In Customer Care” Strategic Objectives: This was the initial Lucky and George campaign by Vodacom. The campaign was intended to showcase Vodacom’s various walk-in customer care service centres around the country. This was intended to illustrate to present customers, as well as prospective customers, the perception that Vodacom was a consumer-orientated company. Target Audience: Individuals who are questioning Vodacom as a service provider would be one of the target audiences for this campaign.

Through this campaign Vodacom is hoping to reassure these individuals of the reasons to be with Vodacom, predominantly their commitment to their customers. Individuals who are not satisfied with their own service provide can also be seen to be a target audience for this campaign. Through this campaign they will be aware of the benefits of being part of the Vodacom family, as well as understanding what Vodacom stands for. Reactions: This particular campaign had many positive reactions and the term ‘Blueteeth’ even became part of South African popular culture; a popular term for Bluetooth technology.

The campaign also affected the number of people who visited the walk-in customer care service centres. The amount of foot traffic into the centres increases by 27% in the space of just one month. On top of this the campaign was ate very highly on both the Liking and Noting scale (Vodacom Case Study, 2007). The campaign had a Noting of 17%, an astonishing 8% higher than the average rating. The campaign also scored high with a Liking rating of 7, 81. These positive ratings can be credited to the humour of the ad, but also its resonance in a modern, technological South African context.

Attributes of Vodacom which were Strengthened: In relation to this particular campaign, the customer care and service departments were definitely strengthened through this campaign. Loyalty to the Vodacom brand was strengthened as well, in a time when this was key. Campaign 2 – “Talking Points” Strategic Objectives: The objective of this particular campaign was to utilize the, now popular characters of Lucky and George to make prepaid Vodacom customers more aware of the benefits of the Talking Points programme. The programme was being drastically underutilized by customers.

Through promoting this facet of their service, Vodacom could further demonstrate their devotion to their customers. On top of this the campaign also illustrated how much more beneficial it was to use Vodacom as a service provider. Target Audience: The target audience for this campaign was primarily Vodacom’s prepaid users who, until the release of this campaign, were severely unaware of the benefits that they had at their disposal. Individuals who were not with Vodacom can also be seen to be the target market here. Through this campaign they are enlightened to the benefits of being a prepaid Vodacom subscriber.

This campaign would potentially entice these individuals to port-out of their respective cellular provider and port-in to Vodacom. Reactions: As a result of this campaign there was a 200% increase in the number of Talking Points redeemed during the period of October 2006 to June 2007. The campaigns consistent humour and likability gave it a high ranking of 8, 07 on the Liking scale. Vodacom Strengthening Attributes: This campaign further embedded the idea that Vodacom was a customer-orientated company. It also demonstrated that although Vodacom was the largest service provider they were still the best value for money.

Since the launch of the campaign the brand attributes of ‘worth what you pay for’ has gone from 51% to 56% (Vodacom Case Study, 2007). A testament to the campaign’s effectiveness at enlightening customers, as well as prospective ones, to the great loyalty scheme that was Talking Points. Campaign 3 – “Mobile Number Portability” Strategic Objectives: This campaign was intended as Vodacom’s response to the newly institutionalized issue of mobile number portability. The objective was to illustrate to customers that they already were with the best cellular service provider.

The campaign was also a swipe at other service providers, intended to persuade their customers to use Vodacom. The objective was showcase the fact that Vodacom had the best coverage, the best value, as well as the best customer care. Target Audience: The proposed target audience for this campaign was anyone who used cellular service providers in South Africa. It was intended for those already with Vodacom, as well as those with other service providers. It was intended to show the vast benefits of being a subscriber to Vodacom, as well as to attract prospective customers to port-out of their current provider and port-in to the Vodacom network.

Reactions: There was a great response to this campaign as there was 35% more port-ins than there were port-outs during this time. The advertisement also scored a Liking of 7, 38. Once again beating the average of 7, 14 for the Telecom industry. Vodacom Strengthening Attributes: This particular campaign also contributed to the 5% increase in the brand attribute of ‘worth what you pay for’. It, like the previous campaign, attempt to cement the idea that Vodacom had the best coverage, deals, and customer care.

Campaign 4 and 5 – “Broadband Tariffs” and “Broadband” These two campaigns have been grouped together due to their numerous similarities in all the proposed categories. Strategic Objectives: The objectives of these two campaigns were to introduce iBurst; demonstrate the speed and efficiency of a Vodacom Broadband setup; and to demonstrate how Vodacom was the best choice for this particular endeavour. Predominantly the campaign was intended to illustrate that Vodacom could connect an individual within 24 hours, and had the best cellular broadband coverage as well as the best tariffs.

Another objective was to allude to the fact that the broadband tariffs had been reduced by an astounding 61%. Target Audience: The target audience were potential ADSL Telkom customers who could wait up to a year to be connected. Broadband users using other providers can also be seen to be the target audience. Reactions: The campaigns were a great success for Vodacom. According to Internal sales figures, Vodacom’s 3G/HSDPA subscriber base grew by 53 400 between March and June 2007; a growth of 35%. Data consumption also increased, it doubled within the period of December 31, 2006 to 1 April 2007.

Not only did the ads rank highly on the Noting and Liking scale but “Broadband – Boobtube” campaign was also ranked as the second most liked as in South Africa for 2007. Vodacom Strengthening Attributes: This campaign showcased the fact that Vodacom was the best in this particular field. Not only were they the fastest at getting an individual connected, but they were also the cheapest and had the widest coverage out of any of the service providers. Thus furthering the perception of Vodacom as the company with the best value for money. Campaign 6 – “Upgrades”

Strategic Objectives: “Four months after the launch of Mobile Number Portability Vodacom realised many of its contract customers’ contracts would be expiring in the next four months. Thus they decided to introduce the Upgrades initiative. The initiative entailed that within 22 months of an individual’s contract the individual could upgrade to a new handset; thereby committing to another 24 month contract with Vodacom” (Vodacom Case Study, 2007). Thus Vodacom and DraftFCB were set the task of explaining this to the contract customers of Vodacom.

Target Audience: The contract customers of Vodacom are the obvious target audience for this particular campaign, but there are others. This campaign is also an incentive to prospective Vodacom customers to use this service provider. Individuals who are already customers of Vodacom though not yet contract holders could also be part of the target audience. The campaign is able to demonstrate the benefits of being a contract customer of Vodacom; thus incentivising individuals to become contract customers rather than just prepaid customers. Reactions:

Similar to all the other campaigns, there was an increase. In May 2007, upgrades at Vodacom increased 16% ahead of the monthly target, and increased by 19% over the previous month (Vodacom Case Study, 2007). The ad, once again, scored a high Liking as well. Vodacom Strengthening Attributes: This campaign furthered the perception of Vodacom as a company that was large in size, though also a company with a large heart; a customer-orientated company. Conclusion: Every single one of these campaigns proclaimed the benefits of being a Vodacom customer.

Everything that Vodacom is, and wants its customers to believe, is the best. Vodacom claims to have the best loyalty scheme; the best coverage; the best customer care; and the best deals. All of these attributes are seen in these various Lucky and George campaigns. The humour that is apparent in these campaigns helps showcase these various benefits to the public, and does so in a way that is friendly and memorable. All the ads Liking and Noting rankings are higher than the average, something that urther reinforces this previous statement. These campaigns are good not only because of these factors, but also because they are consistent with what South Africa has come to expect from Vodacom ads. The versatile nature of the campaign, as a whole, can also been seen as a benefit to the campaign. The campaign has been utilized to communicate on a wide range of issues; all of which initially stemmed from the institutionalisation of mobile number portability. Bibliography: * (2007), Vodacom Case Study.


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