2017 Winners

Less For Less

Public Mobile

Gold Agency of the Year: Cossette

The Challenge

Public Mobile, Telus’ value brand, was not capturing enough growth in the discount wireless carrier space, facing competition from Freedom Mobile and Chatr Wireless. Compounding the competitive pressure was low brand awareness.

Though Public Mobile benefits from a strong community of customers and grassroots word-of-mouth, the brand is consistently challenged with competing in a space in which it cannot outspend the competition. Between Freedom’s well-advertised rebrand in late 2016 and Chatr’s strong presence in retail, it was difficult for Public Mobile to establish a presence and a purpose. To win customers and stay top-of-mind, Public Mobile offered aggressively priced packages, which was effective at generating short-term growth, but proved to be ineffective at keeping the brand a leader in such a competitive space. Eventually, competitors simply undercut Public Mobile’s rates and packages.

The challenge was to grow Public Mobile’s user base, but to do it in a sustainable way: attract consumers who buy into Public Mobile’s philosophy, service, and way of doing business, not those looking to jump to whatever brand is offering the cheapest service at the moment. In order to win consumers over, the brand needed to not just tell people it existed, but also explain why it existed, and how it was different.

The Insight

There are consumers who are not thrilled with all of the overhead of mobile companies and add-ons for mobile phones and plans, especially when the overhead and add-ons appear on their bills.

As the perpetual challenger brand in the discount wireless space, the brand felt responsible to call out industry complacency. The brand and agency Cossette chose to challenge frivolous frills, weak networks and unsustainable discounts that were misrepresenting experience and creating more apathy amongst consumers with a no frills platform.

Knowing Public Mobile’s customers are value conscious, technically competent and proud of their resourcefulness, the brand didn’t want to “give more for less,” because that’s what the competitors claim to do with frills and add-ons. Instead, the team highlighted all the unnecessary extras the brand doesn’t offer to show customers how it keeps its rates so low, without compromising on the core service.

The Plan

The campaign, “Less for Less,” built on the brand’s "No Frills" platform, with the idea that with fewer frills come greater savings being the creative articulation of the platform.

Customers strive to have it all, but are unwilling to pay a premium for it, so the brand took the same approach to launching its platform. On a shoestring budget, it was able to produce the exact same tactics its deep-pocketed competitors do, while subtly calling out the unnecessary extras consumers are sold, instead of providing a great, core wireless service.

In the spirit of “Less for Less,” the brand launched tongue-in-cheek with a single billboard (yes, one billboard – that’s not a typo), explaining why it exists and what it strives to offer its customers. The team then expanded its OOH reach with digital boards, wild postings and transit ads that irreverently turned the brand’s limitations into benefits for the consumer (i.e. “PRO: We don’t have any stores/CON: You don’t pay for our stores”). The fake kiosks created in malls were simply lenticular posters reminding consumers that Public Mobile only provides business online to keep its costs low.

The team just posted casting videos online; anything more than that would have meant a rate hike for customers. The team featured five separate casting sessions and didn’t edit, colour correct or enhance the videos in any way. The social media ads were also hand-drawn.

In addition, the team created a new, simplified look and feel for Public Mobile and updated the brand’s website to reflect the new direction. All of this was done in-house, avoiding any unnecessary costs or frills.

The Results

-835% increase in gross adds
-Subscriber base doubled