An ad campaign from wireless challenger Mint Mobile breaks today with a couple of commercials displaying behavior causing onlookers to say, “That’s not right.”
That’s the idea. Mint Mobile charges customers just $15 a month for cell service, far less than consumers are probably paying Verizon or AT&T or the other established bigs in the business. Mint Mobile refers to the “unlimited plan racket” those services sell.
There are a couple other major differences. Mint Mobile doesn’t sell you a phone or have fancy stores, and you pre-pay for your plan, from three months to a year in advance. It’s cheaper that way.
The ad campaign will be all over TV starting today — they are Mint Mobile’s first commercials ever, with more to come, probably via digital media.
The quirky spots show peculiar behavior: In one, a man showers in a bathroom stall that is completely carpeted, including the walls. In another, a bunch of partiers use their fingers to scoop out the chip dip. It’s disgusting.
An onlooker says it all: “That’s not right.” Here comes the pitch: “Mint Mobile took what’s wrong with wireless and made it right.”
Aron North, senior vice president of marketing and creative at Mint Mobile, says the brand’s big challenge is convincing consumers that its low rates don’t also come with low-quality performance. That’s the sense of doubt shoppers can feel when the price seems too good to be true.
North and Mint Mobile argue that most people who get 5 GB monthly plans from their cell service providers don’t come close to using it and, in essence, they’re actually “subsidizing” those few who use the full amount.
Right now, he says, consumers are buying far more than they need and a lot of wi-fi service is provided for free in the workplace, at coffee shops, restaurants and even public parks.
The base Mint Mobile plan sells 2 GBs of high-speed 4G LTE data plus unlimited talk and text for $15 a month paid in advance. It also has a 10 GB plan for $25, though Mint notes that is more than twice as much as most consumers ever use. (Mint Mobile wireless plans use T-Mobile’s coverage map.)
“It’s a two-step calculation,” North tells Marketing Daily. Just by figuring how much data you use and how much you pay, it’s possible to calculate that the Mint Mobile way can save a typical user $80 a month or nearly $1,000 a year. That’s real money, and North says, “That’s what really knocks people back.”
Mint Mobile launched in 2016 and has sold 1 million GB of data. By its second birthday a few months from now it expects to be over 3 million GB.
North sees Mint Mobile as a classic disrupter that pares the business to its most efficient parts. Its PR pitch makes admiring comparisons to Warby Parker and Dollar Shave Club.
In the first flight of commercials, North says, Mint Mobile will be looking to see “what kind of lift we get” but beyond that it will be using data and make “behavior-based” media buys. That probably means advertising on streaming platforms. The company expects big things. It recently tripled the size of its customer care team in anticipation of a flood of new customers.
Mint Mobile customers, North says, are a lot like cord-cutters who drop expensive cable TV plans and opt for streaming video alternatives including live streaming services like Playstation Vue and DirecTV Now that offer smaller bundles of live TV at a fraction of the cost of cable. Those are viewers, North says, who might be receptive to another round of disruption, and he predicts a lot of its ad dollars will be headed that way.