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Telstra says use of celebrities represents brand’s cultural shift as it rolls out Jessica Mauboy ad

Telstra has rolled out the third in its trilogy of adverts in the ‘we want to be famous for it’ campaign featuring pop star Jessica Mauboy.

The telco’s director of segment marketing Andy Bateman told Mumbrella the campaign, which also features  Jimmy Barnes and Magda Szubanski,  is about representing the brands cultural shift and the brand’s new commitments to its customers,

The new Jessica Mauboy ad:

“The emphasis of this was on our cultural shift and change within the organisation. We’ve been on a journey for a number of years but we thought now was the time to externally talk about our commitment to our customers and demonstrating that we really care,” he said.

“A lot of changes and a lot of hardwork has been ongoing in the last few years and we wanted to represent that in the market.”

Each ad in the series, created by DDB Sydney, underlines a commitment the company wants to make to its customers.

The first, featuring Jimmy Barnes, was about communicating Telstra’s network and its commitment to ‘Whatever it takes, to bring you Australia’s best mobile experience’.

“We continue to invest more than a billion dollars a year in our mobile network to bring all parts of Australia to bring them the very best network experience,” Bateman said.

“That is around ensuring we continue to provide a great experience around what is Australia’s best and most certainly biggest network.”

In the second spot, featuring Magda Szubanski,  Telstra focused on personalisation.

“It’s around building a more personalised experience for our customers so they don’t get passed around from pillar to post and  we can provide them with a single point of contact who would take care of them and whatever that enquiry might be,” Bateman explained.

“It was trying to bring that to life that we’re committed to providing a much more personalised experience.”

The third spot, launched Wednesday and featuring Jessica Mauboy, focuses on the brand’s commitment to peace of mind when using Telstra products and services.

“It’s really about in part taking the negatives off the table so they can have a great experience and starting to demonstrate in the market the changes we’ve been making in Telstra towards our commitment to our customer and demonstrating that we really care.”

Bateman explained while it “represents itself as an advertising campaign” but it’s much more for Telstra, explaining its the “beginning of a commitment and a program of work that’s ongoing”.

“It’s part of a broader internal program of cultural change of orienting and organising our business around a customer and providing them with a better service.

“You’ll see over the coming months more commitments come to life and more proof points around them.”

On the choice to use well known Australian figures, Bateman said it’s about wanting to “get closer to the people of Australia”.

“We’re a big brand and we speak to everybody,” he said. “We were  intentional in identifying people who were representative of modern day Australia. Of course they’re stars but Jimmy Barnes is very everyman, Jessica Mauboy is someone who we actually discovered on the Telstra Road to Discovery, we found Jessica and we’re huge fans and supporters of her.

“Again, she’s very accesible and very everyday. She’s very human and Australian, she’s not someone who sits on the top and looks down, she’s one of us.

“And the same as with Magda, she’s played very many parts and she’s a great actress but she’s still representative of the heartland of Australia and that as a brand is where we are, where Telstra is. We’re not an elitist brand, we’re for everyone.”

Bateman said the use of celebrities is aimed at getting people’s attention.

“It was intended to get people’s attention and our tracking suggests that’s what it’s done,” he said.

However, the campaign has led some critics to say the telco is merely paying lip service to the promises, rather than following through with them, a claim Bateman rejected.

He added: “It’s easy to be cynical about these sorts of programs and campaigns because you see them in isolation, but for us it represents a genuine authentic commitment to our customers and improving our service.

“We don’t always get that right, we know we don’t and we’d be arrogant to claim that we do. But we’re absolutely committed to getting better at getting better.”

On creating a campaign that stands out amongst campaigns from rival telco companies Optus and Vodafone, Bateman said their focus on population coverage is “relatively meaningless”.

“Both Optus and Vodafone talk about the percentage of population that they cover and that in itself is quite interesting. But the fact of the matter is your mobile is mobile and that population stat is about where people live not about where they use their mobile,” he said.

“We cover many more square kilometres than our next best competitor and we wanted to represent that in the ad because the mobile network is about being where you are not where you live.

“The statistic of 90 odd per cent is all well and good but is relatively meaningless relative to actually having a network that is on and lit up where ever you are.”

Telstra successfully took Optus to court over an ad, which focused on coverage but did not make it clear enough that it was population coverage, it said was misleading. The Victorian Supreme Court ruling Optus had misled Australians over the strength of its mobile network in its campaign in February.

Optus has since fired back, editing the ad to make the distinction clear while in April, Vodafone ditched its ‘kidult’ campaign in favour of one which too focused on the network’s population coverage.

Miranda Ward

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