T-Mobile's U.K. ad may be testing the bounds of good taste. In "More minutes for £30," a veterinarian wearing a long yellow glove apparently puts his arm up a cow's rear end, searching for a better deal than most mobile companies offer.
The campaign created by ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, per guardian.co.uk, takes a different approach than the TV ad running in the U.S, though both focus on consumers finding more minutes to talk to their hearts' content.
In the U.S., T-Mobile focuses on home service. Speaking to consumers with home phone lines, the "Say Good-bye to Good-bye" campaign message tells consumers T-Mobile gives them so many minutes, they never need to say "good-bye."
Research reveals that most people typically have longer conversations on a landline, compared with a cell phone. Rather than pay $40 for a monthly landline, T-Mobile customers get unlimited nationwide calling for a fraction of the cost, per the company.
"Sometimes you have to say good-bye because you're worried about running up a large bill because of the time you're spending on the phone," says Bob Moore, chief creative officer of Publicis in the West, which runs the T-Mobile account and oversees the creative directors and products in the States. "Since there is no longer a need to say 'good-bye,' in the ad where people would normally say 'good-bye,' they say 'hello'."
The campaign is running on network, cable and TV, as well as in newspapers and on various Web sites, including the dedicated T-Mobile @Home microsite, www.t-mobileathome.com.
T-Mobile appears to reach out to consumers, communicating a similar message in completely different ways. Amy Shea, EVP at marketing research firm Brand Keys, believes most U.S. consumers would accept the UK ad, the critical point being that cows are not pets. "For most of us, they are food, and we won't respond the same to a bovine with a sardonic look as we do to Fluffy or Rex in any sort of distress," she says. "There also is a rather large contingent that likes humor. This certainly fits, or should I say the glove fits."
Though not convinced the ad will bring success for the brand, Shea wonders whether people remember the compelling message about saving money on minutes from T-Mobile or just the cow. She says humor works for the breakthrough--research repeatedly demonstrates--although it is not always great at driving sales.