Nothing have been as popular as cricket during cricket seasons in India. The recent ads of Vodafone, telecom provider in India, named ‘ZooZoo’ have got an exception to it. The ZooZoo ads have melted the millions of Indian hearts making it more popular than India Premier League (IPL – Twenty20 cricket).
In 2007, Vodafone acquired 67% stake in Hutchisson and re-branded Hutch telecom into Vodafone. Following is the story told by the ads itself of how Hutch’s brand image transitioned to Vodafone’s brand image while pulling along the consumer’s perceptions and preference towards the Hutch brand.
The Hutch Brand – ‘Wherever You Go Our Network Follows’
Hutch had a very strong brand personality. The slogan “Wherever you go our network follows’ was closely tied up with the Hutch – Pug campaign. The Hutch network was personified as the adorable pug dog following the owner, who is normally a very cute kid. Lets look at these ads.
After watching these above ads, one would definitely fall in love with the brand. The ads had a very simple message that was communicated through the dog with backdrop of a beautiful song. The Hutch network was personified as the dog and the Hutch brand automatically drew the brand personality of being adorable, cute. The dog was named Hutch dog and became very popular in India. The dog became the brand ambassador and a great brand asset to Hutch. Hutch leveraged this popularity of the dog and used the dog in its websites and in all its communications.
Hutch was able to make a close connection with the people through this Hutch- Pug dog campaign and will this relationship sustain after its acquisition by Vodafone?
The Vodafone Brand – ‘Make The Most Of Now’
Vodafone is one of the leading global brands and in brand value ranking 2008, Vodafone is ranked as the 11th in the world and 2nd in Europe. Vodafone brand enjoys the image of being youthful, cutting-edge, high on features (value added services), with high spends in R&D. Vodafone’s brand essence is:
Red: For the passion and spirit.
Rock Solid: dependable and empathetic
Restless: always challenging to improve and being funny.
Lets look at some of the Vodafone’s ads in UK.
Vodafone ads are also very good. Though both Hutch and Vodafone ads are captivating, they are in different ways. When Vodafone acquires Hutch, will the Hutch’s brand personality of being cute fade out and become more funny and youthful?
Vodafone – India Launch
Now, lets see how the transitioning took place.
I hope you would agree that brand transitioning could not be done any better. Vodafone spent around 50 million USD ( 250 Crores INR) for this brand transitioning. Vodafone very well understood that Hutch dog represents the network and communicated the change to Vodafone beautifully without losing the charm present in earlier Hutch ads. Later, Vodafone continued to use the Hutch dog in their commercials, but, in different way. Lets check it out.
You might have noticed that the new Vodafone ads liked girls than boys and have changed the song. Yet, these ads resembled Hutch ads closely.
Vodafone differentiates itself from other telecom operators through its value added services (VAS) and it wanted to educate the customers about it. Unfortunately, the hutch dog had its limitations and was fired from the commercials and Vodafone brought in traditional commercial with adults to stress on the VAS. Lets see how they perform,
These ads didn’t appeal much although communicated the message very well. The ads were no more sweet and cute although they had a wider appeal owing to the young generation in the ads and the intentional humor. But just when everyone thought that these cute ads have grown into adults there came the savior – ZooZoo ads by O&M. They simply did the job of communicating the various VAS in a fascinating way. I can say they are simply the best. Here they are,
Simply superb, isn’t it? TheVodafone’s services were personified as quirky and lively personalities named ZooZoo. The comical way of communicating the message brought in the good old connection what Hutch earlier had with people. I can hear the whispering that the Hutch’s ad are ‘cute’ again or even ‘cuter’.
Vodafone India understood what Hutch stood for and tried to connect to people in the same way. Vodafone could have forced its global appeal to Indian market but, it didn’t, rather it created a whole new persona for itself in the Indian telecom market. This confirms that there are no global brands but there is definitely global brand management. Hats off to Vodafone for being glocal (Global and local ) in their approach. I would say the Hutch to Vodafone brand transitioning is one of the greatest brand transitions in this world of brands.
Note:- In this whole article I have assumed that ads makes the complete brand image for a brand, although in reality that is not the case. But, I strongly believe that ads play an inevitably larger role in creating the brand image.