Colenso BBDO Auckland


The New Zealand telco market is dominated by three key players. Skinny was a subsidiary of one of these companies, designed to serve the low-budget, low-cost end of the market – mostly youths getting by with prepaid plans.

However, Skinny had bigger aspirations. We were tasked with growing Skinny’s customer base, reducing churn, and launching Skinny Mobile’s new brand promise to the nation: ‘We’ll do anything to keep prices low and customers happy.’

The brand wanted to grow beyond its niche, youth-orientated consumer base and appeal to the masses. Winning over the everyday Kiwi, delivering on its brand promise while staying true to its cheeky, comical origins.

We searched their customer base for people to give testimonials of their experiences with the brand. What we found, were customers who happen to share their names with some of the world’s biggest celebrities.

Ben Affleck (from Dunedin), Julia Roberts (from Tauranga), Michael Jordan (from Kelston), and Clint Eastwood (from Pukekohe) all came on board as brand ambassadors, and were in themselves proof of our brand promise - keeping prices low, by substituting big names for small-time Kiwi faux-lebrities.

We launched the campaign with a portrait series of our ‘celebrities’ in the iconic poses of their famous namesakes, transforming our ambassadors into stars in their own right. The series was picked up all over the world, and right when interest was at its peak, we released the first wave of our campaign.

A TV commercial followed, along with an outdoor campaign, print, digital banners, PR and digital video. Together the celebrities told our story and shared our brand promise in a hero film. Individually they also praised the brand in 15 second films, outdoor and online. Jackie Chan (the Pharmacist from Ellerslie) celebrated our low prices, confessing he wished he’d switched to Skinny sooner. Anthony Hopkins (the museum worker from Wellington) professed his admiration for the ‘absolutely wonderful’” Skinny staff. Sarah Jessica Parker (the farrier from Warkworth) ‘recommended Skinny to everybody’” while Clint Eastwood, Julia Roberts and Michael J Fox were interviewed on the nation’s morning news channel – where they talked about Skinny and their new-found fame.

In the weeks after our campaign launched, celebrity named kiwis from across the country then reached out to us, begging to be in our next adverts. Julia Roberts featured on the cover of New Zealand’s most-popular glossy magazine – Woman’s Day. And Clint Eastwood’s new-found fame led him to star in another company’s ad campaign.

Up until our campaign launch, Skinny had been a small-time player in the telco market in New Zealand. Low-value & short term customers were a shaky foundation on which to build a brand.

However, post-launch, fFor the first time in the company’s history, Skinny reduced customer churn by 12%, to below 50%. Helping to develop a substantially stronger and more loyal customer base, crucial to the brand’s ongoing success..

Research suggests that brand campaigns take 3 years to deliver their best results, so we didn’t anticipate seeing any major brand shifts in such a short period of time.

However, in just six months: Bbrand consideration had grown to its highest ever peak at 37%, growing again a month later in January to 38%. Consideration is one of the most important metrics for proving future brand growth.

Coverage of the campaign delivered over 18 million impressions (in a country of only 4 million people)..

Skinny achieved an astonishing 22% growth in the mobile category, traditionally a highly competitive industry with minimal movements year on year. So successful is the campaign that Skinny’s future has now been firmly cemented, with the client crediting the campaign for helping to “transform the business”

Date created: September 2018 2018-09-01T00:00:00+0100
Date published: 22 February 2019 2019-02-22T00:01:36+0000


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Colenso BBDO has been a Contributor since 21st March 2018.

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