Vodafone uses Jensen Button to compare its network problems to a broken down Datsun

Vodafone is continuing its series of ‘self depreciating’ advertisements with ad which compares the network’s coverage to a broken down Datsun 120Y.

In the ad, Vodafone invited British Formula One driver Jenson Button to attempt a lap record at the Calder Park Raceway in Victoria. During the lap – resembling Top Gear’s “star in a reasonably priced car” segment – the Datsun apparently breaks down on the driver.

A voiceover then says: “Some people used to say the old Vodafone network was like this but we’ve come a long way and there’s still more to come.”

The ad then promotes Vodafone’s 4G offering which switches on in some metro areas of Sydney and Perth next month, along with “some coverage in Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Newcastle and Wollongong” according to the small print of the ad. No mention is made of Victoria.

A Vodafone spokeswoman said the ad would only be run online. “It’s tongue in cheek and a bit of fun using really good sponsorship assets that we have to drive interest and be a little bit cheeky as our brand is known to be,” said the spokeswoman.

“We are constantly looking for ways to have fun and engage customers and our staff. This ad has been received really well internally.”

Vodafone has recently broadcast a number of advertisements created by Ogilvy acknowledging the network’s problems with coverage.

Another ad which highlighted how customers could get out of their contract within the first 30 days if they are unhappy with the network was described as ‘self depreciating’.

“The ad acknowledges our customers’ feedback based on inconsistent experience with our network in the past while backing the work we’ve put into improving the network in recent years with the Vodafone network guarantee,” the brand said at the time. “The latest campaign does all of this with a bit of humour and self deprecation.”

Telstra has increased its market share over Vodafone after investing in its network and launching full capital cities coverage of 4G over the last year or so. Vodafone’s reputation has struggled since late 2010 when its network earned it the nickname “Vodafail”.

Earlier in the week, it emerged that in the auction of spectrum to expand services, Telstra spend more than $1bn while Vodafone withdrew from bidding.

Nic Christensen


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