MAD Week: Why Virgin Mobile Says There Really Is A Free Lunch

MAD Week: Why Virgin Mobile Says There Really Is A Free Lunch
SHARE
THIS



“My life is a constant assessment of whether what’s going on in the room is more important than what’s going on in my phone.”

Nicole Bardsley director of brand and communications Virgin Mobile shared the above quote she attributes to one of her staff at the Customer Conference on Thursday in Sydney, the sold out event that was part of MAD Week. She was conveying the point that the mobile device had changed the world and therefore how businesses need to operate.

Bardsley said that she was inspired by the Dove Real Beauty campaign, which despite its name, was so much more than a campaign. “It’s a purpose that endures beyond a moment in time. The core of the idea is in the brand and the purpose for Dove,” she said.

She also said that Toms Shoes was a less well-known example but that it also offered some powerful insights for marketers. Toms Shoes came in for some heavy criticism after it established its business model of giving a pair of shoes to someone in need in the third-world for every pair sold.

Academics and activists alike criticised the campaign as a gimmick, being patronising and perhaps more importantly, in some third-world countries, by supplying large numbers of shoes, they actually threatened the livelihood of local cobblers, while not providing any other meaningful employment.

However the CEO and founder of Toms Shoes, Blake Mycoskie, responded to these criticisms in November 2013, saying: “If you really are serious about poverty alleviation, our critics said, then you need to create jobs. At first I took that personally, but then I realised that they were right… using our model to create jobs is the next level.”

Since then the company has announced it plans to have one-third of all its shoes produced in countries receiving aid by 2015.

Bardsley said it was this willingness to embrace his critics and keep his purpose at the core of the business, which allowed Toms Shoes to succeed.

She said that Virgin Mobiles purpose, make mobile better, of itself does not make the purpose, rather it’s the actions that you take to make it come alive that counts. “Three words do not make a purpose, it’s what you do with them that counts,” she said.

Her strategy has two pillars:

  1. Take mobile behaviour and make it better
  2. Take a mobile wrong and make it better.

To illustrate her point, Bardsley talked about Virgin Mobiles #mealforameal campaign. Because uploading pictures of food is the third most common upload on Instagram, Virgin took that behavior and made it better by saying for every picture of a meal uploaded to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hastag #mealforameal would result in a meal for someone in need.

Alarmingly, 2 million Australians rely on meal support to survive.

Virgin partnered with Oz Harvest to deliver the meals, which included Virgin staff helping out with the charity.

With the goal of serving 400,000 meals, other companies and celebrities have climbed on board with the most recent high profile endorsement coming from Jamie Oliver who brings 3 million followers with him.
As this article went live, Virgin had just shy of 80,000 uploads of the hashtag.

Bardsley says this is first of many initiatives for Virgin, which has also implemented an internal policy of E-llegiance, which means there’s no company emails between 7pm to 7am to encourage more meaningful family time.

“Having less money forces us to act more creatively,” she says.

Virgin also has mobile free meetings, where staff have to surrender their phones and place them into a bucket, which results in much faster meetings.

Bardsley said that the focus for Virgin was creating meaningful interactions. “You can buy reach, but you can’t buy engagement,” she said.

To alleviate this phenomena, Bardsley said all her campaigns were “social by design . . . start with messages in social and then use traditional media to amplify.”

To help with engaging content, Virgin has partnered with VICE on a year-long content strategy.

Latest News

How To Create Connections To Increase Your Influence
  • Opinion

How To Create Connections To Increase Your Influence

Darren Fleming (pictured below) is a speaker, author and trainer who specialises in helping leaders influence their teams. He is the author of Don’t be a D!ck – creating connections that make influence happen. In this guest post, Fleming offers proven tips on how to improve staff connections and your influence around any office… The secret to […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
PayPal Unveils “Uncle Awesome” In Witty Christmas Spot Via Buzzman
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

PayPal Unveils “Uncle Awesome” In Witty Christmas Spot Via Buzzman

A dodgy uncle is the star of PayPal’s new Christmas spot set to air across 15 european countries this festive season. The work of famed Parisian agency Buzzman, the ad plays on the traditional family Christmas and the arrival of an uncle notorious for his over-touching, cheating and over-eating. This time around, thanks to Paypal, Mr […]

Isentia Builds Out Executive Team With Three New Appointments
  • Media

Isentia Builds Out Executive Team With Three New Appointments

Isentia Group Limited has announced three senior appointments to its executive leadership team to accelerate product enhancement, operational efficiencies and support ongoing transformation. Following an extensive search, Paul Russell has been appointed chief technology officer (CTO), Kelly Young chief human resources officer (CHRO) and Peter McClelland chief financial officer (CFO). Ed Harrison, Isentia chief executive officer and managing director, […]

Ovarian Cancer Australia Says ‘It’s Time For Ovary-Action’
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Ovarian Cancer Australia Says ‘It’s Time For Ovary-Action’

Ovarian Cancer Australia has launched its first pieces of work via agency 10 feet tall. ‘It’s time for ovary-action’ is their empowering, new creative platform that aims to rally all Australians to stand up and take action for the cause. The launch includes a quirky content video accompanied by print and radio components that aim […]

Assembly Label Appoints The Wired Agency
  • Media

Assembly Label Appoints The Wired Agency

One of Australia’s leading fashion brands, Assembly Label has officially appointed The Wired Agency as its exclusive digital campaign partner. As a market leader in the ‘simplified essentials’ space; quickly becoming renowned for their minimal approach to design and clothing construction, Assembly Label has recently opened their tenth retail location as well as being well-represented […]