Chemistry’s rapid response eircom TV ad took a week…

Chemistry (the makers of the now famous France and the Croke Park box letters) made the recent eircom TV ad that was a response to the Vodafone switching ad. Vodafone had people painting their doors red and the eircom response had people stripping the red off and going back to orange. It’s common in the U.S. but unusual here to see companies directly challenge each other on TV. I don’t watch TV (much) but was told about the ad from friends who really liked it so tracked it down. Part of this promotion from eircom involves sending people in the media and bloggers boomerangs. Clever.

I got eircom to send some questions on to Chemistry about the ad and the replies are below (slightly edited):

Comments attributable to Sinead Cosgrove, Chemistry:

1. Was there a detailed brief for this or were you asked to create an ad in reply to Vodafone’s red door ad?

Our brief was to communicate eircom’s very clear and important message that 55,000 customers had returned to the company in the period 1st September 2008 – 31st August 2009. eircom had also carried out independent research that showed that consumers actually wanted eircom to stand up for itself a bit more. When competitors talk about taking customers from eircom, it gives the impression of a one-way street. It isn’t.

Vodafone’s latest campaign very clearly stated intent to target eircom customers. The eircom campaign is not just directly targeting Vodafone but rather is an example of eircom standing up for itself which according to independent research is what customers wanted. It also presents a balanced and true view that while customers have left, they return for real value and great service. We made the message engaging by deliberately being a bit tongue-in-cheek in our execution of the advert.

1 b. How did you come up with the idea for it?

Due to the requirement for a quick turnaround we brainstormed rather than worked to a formal briefing process. Part of how we came up with the idea was because we knew that consumers wanted to see eircom take a stance. We wanted to find an engaging way of responding to the general “sniping” from competitors but know that the manner in which you do this bears different significance for the consumer: too much aggression and bickering turns the consumer off; blow your own trumpet and you risk coming across as both arrogant and irrelevant. We knew that we had goodwill in spades from the consumer and that this was due, in large part, to eircom’s reputation for better service levels (which is partly why 55,000 people came back to eircom). We wanted to take this goodwill from the consumer and build it into something that they would recognise and engage with. Humour and simplicity of message helped land the tone we were looking for.

1c. How many times did those doors get painted at this stage?

This is a very famous street and many advertisers have used it because it has houses that are both characteristic and uniform. We only actually painted two of the doors, the rest were colour-changed in post production.

2. What was the turnaround for the ad? Perhaps I’m wrong but it seemed to come rapidly after Vodafone brought theirs out

The advert was conceived and turned around within a week. Using the “Doors” in the execution meant that we could be very clever, tactical and humourous in taking on our critics and competitors.

3. Was this purely for TV or is it to be seen in other media too?

This campaign included TV and press advertising as well as online banners and direct mail activity

4. What was the feedback like for this?

So far the feedback for this campaign has been extremely positive.

2 Responses to “Chemistry’s rapid response eircom TV ad took a week…”

  1. Tomboktu says:

    Sinead Cosgrove, Chemistry: “independent research […] showed that consumers actually wanted eircom to stand up for itself a bit more” and “consumers wanted to see eircom take a stance“.

    It may just be me and the circles I move in, but I am highly dubious about this claim by Sinead Cosgrove.

    It may just be my view and the circles I move it, but I don’t know people who think that way about a commercial company. Consumers whom I know male choices based, on the one hand, value or choice, or, on the other hand, on political or ethical grounds.

    For example, a colleague refuses to buy fruit that has come from Israel, a friend makes a point of buying as much Fairtrade as she can get, and — apposite given the nature of the business under discussion in this post — I chose my mobile phone company on the basis of whether they recognise trade unions.

    I have heard people say they want [Enda Kenny | Eamon Gilmore | Brian Cowen] to stand up for themself to [Enda Kenny | Eamon Gilmore | Brian Cowen], and similar points made about the manager or captain of a favourite sports team.

    And I have, in some of the places I have worked, heard senior executives say that “we” needed to stand up to a competitor. I have also heard that line used when working in a public sector body when referring to private organisation that my employer regulates.

    However, I have never heard a consumer say they want their supplier of product x to “stand up for itself” against a competitor.

    If the likes of a political party (or IBEC or Congress or CORI or the NLGF) made a claim like this about a survey, I would be skeptical about that claim. And I am as skeptical about Sinead Cosgrove’s claim. What form did the research take? How were the participants selected? Who was or were the independent researcher or researchers? What were the questions asked? How were they framed?

  2. Des says:

    Well if eircom say it then it must be true. After all I’m sure every consumer was ringing Joe Duffy demanding that eircom stand up against the Comreg bully…