Colenso BBDO


Client: Spark
Product: Skinny
Title: Friend-vertising
Media: Advertising
Country: New Zealand
Date Of Campaign: March 2020

Background: New Zealand is home to Skinny; a low-cost telco with only a 10th of the ad spend of their nearest competitor. Seen as a small market player, it was hard enough for consumers to even know about them, let alone consider joining them. But those that did join Skinny loved them. That’s why, despite having only 23% awareness, they had won the Consumer NZ’s People’s Choice Award 5 years in a row. So our brief was simple; take the smallest brand, with a tiny budget, in one of the world’s most tight-knit countries, and grow them into a mass-market player.

Idea: Insight:A Nielson report on the efficacy of word-of-mouth advertising says recommendations from friends and family members are 92% more effective than regular ads. Idea:Skinny didn’t have a massive marketing budget. But they did have an army of customers who loved them. So we mobilised hundreds of them in an attempt to reach everyone in New Zealand, with an ad hosted by someone they knew. An integrated word-of-mouth campaign that operated as a nationwide broadcast. Delivery:We cast hundreds of Skinny customers from all around the country and made them stars of their own campaigns. Then we gave each one of them a media budget to target their ads to their friends, family, workmates, and acquaintances.We shot hundreds of identical spokesperson campaigns, with hundreds of identical 30-second TV ads, hundreds of identical billboards, bus shelter ads, radio spots, and social films. Every campaign was identical to the one before it, except it featured a different happy Skinny customer with the same dialogue, same settings, same looks to camera, and the same jokes. Some of those customers spoke different languages, so we shot the campaigns in their native tongues, with straight translations from the English script. We cast them from all over the country so that their influence would go as far as it could. Then we geo-targeted them, alongside out-of-home, radio and social to reach those most likely to recognise them. Each customer was supported with a unique media strategy for their lifestyle – wherever they worked, played, lived, or even grew up, they were visible. They told their friends, who told their friends, and so on, and so on. That’s how a tiny telco turned each of their happiest customers into their very own media channel.

Results: The Skinny Friend-vertising campaign reached 98% of New Zealand.Skinny’s consideration rose from 32% - 44%.Skinny’s awareness rose from 23% - 38%.Skinny’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) rose to 58%, well above Verizon (7), AT&T (15), and T-mobile (35).174% Growth in acquisitionCustomer base grew by 11%

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