Integrated communication and homogeneous marketing should be self-evident. Nevertheless this discipline is new in Austria and got more attention in the last few years.
The “tele.ring”-campaign (using the new endorser “Indian guy”) was launched 2008 without integration and linking media vehicles. TV- and outdoor-ads are the key used media channels, all channels use the same messages and layout (but no connection to other marketing instruments and interaction or involvement with or of consumers).
If we review on the “Indian guy”, this character is not perfect as endorser for “tele.ring” and the campaign. But the “Indian guy” is more presenter than endorser – and this in a humorous and authentic way.
The performance of “tele.ring” and the “Indian guy” on social network platforms like Facebook, Twitter or YouTube confirms this thesis. These platforms are used – but the campaign is faulty implemented and I can not identify a concrete strategy (the “Indian guy” is not used throughout all sites, e.g. Twitter). So “tele.ring” do not tapping the full potential of integrated marketing communication (IMC).
A positive development is the ten-year-anniversary-campaign “Tanzen mit dem Inder”. “tele.ring” linked all relevant media instruments (Facebook, website, online-ads, outdoor-advertisements and TV) and created one of the first Austrian IMC campaign.
On the following sides I’m going to evaluate the current campaign of the Austrian mobile network operator „tele.ring” called „Der Inder“ („Indian guy“). The campaign was launched in September 2008 (see reference 1) and is still on air and online.
2. About “tele.ring” and the Austrian market
“tele.ring” was one of the four Austrian mobile network operators. Since 2006 it is part of the company „T-Mobile“ (owned by „Deutsche Telekom“ from Germany). “tele.ring” is almost an individual brand and operates as discounter (see reference 2). The austrian market of all mobile network operators looks like: (see references 3 and 4)
marketpenetration: 129 % (2008) and 137 % (2009)
total revenue (in EUR): 865,3 m. (2008) and 812,8 m. (2009)
total call minutes: 5,155 m. (2008) and 5.516 m. (2009)
sent SMS: 1,354 m. (2008) and 1,589 m. (2009)
A1 (A1 Telekom Austria, partner of Vodafone): 42,2 % (2008) and 42,3 % (2009)
T-Mobile Austria (included „tele.ring“, part of Deutsche Telekom): 31,9 % (2008) and 30,1 % (2009)
Orange (Part of France Telecom): 19,8 % (2008) and 19,8 % (2009)
Drei (owner: Hutchison 3G, part of Hutchison Whampoa, Hongkong): 6,1 % (2008) and 7,8 % (2009)
Table 1: market of mobile network operators in Austria
The market in austria can be divided in one market leader (A1 Telekom Austria), T-Mobile Austria as market challenger, Orange as market follower and as market nichers Hutchinson 3 G. (see reference 5)
Every Austrian (from baby to retiree) has 1,37 mobile phones and the peak is already not reached. The market is well developed and the competition causes very cheap fees and costs for the customers. The companies invest a lot of money in marketing activities and special offers are available all over the year. T-Mobile Austria spent without “tele.ring” more than 24 m. EUR in classical ads (TV, radio, print, cinema, outdoor, online) in 2007. (see reference 6) So they are the third biggest spender of all advertisements in Austria. The whole telecommunication branch was 2007 the second largest segment in commercial-spendings. (see reference 7)
A1 Telekom Austria:
contract brand: A1
discount brand: –
prepaid brand: bob
contract brand: T-Mobile
discount brand: tele.ring
prepaid brand: twist, klax, Mücke
contract brand: Orange
discount brand: –
prepaid brand: YESSS!
contract brand: Drei (3)
discount brand: –
prepaid brand: –
Table 2: mobile network operators in Austria and their brands
T-Mobile Austria is the best positioned company in the Austrian market, because they can offer two different brands (T-Mobile and “tele.ring”) with variable target groups and distribution-channels (”tele.ring” has still own shops). Additional there prepaid-products are available for both brands. A1 and Orange only offer their contract products and an additional prepaid-brand in the discount segment. For 3 is no prepaid or discount-product available.
In summary the two most important facts to know about the austrian market:
- there is a huge competition between all providers (dynamic market)
- so they spent a lot of money in marketing activities (mainly in TV- and outdoor-advertisement)
3. Campaign and used media vehicles
Before 2008 “tele.ring” uses the claim „Weg mit dem Speck“ („get off the fat“, what means that you should be slim in telephone rates) and underlines it by fat figures as endorsers.
Picture 1: “Weg mit dem Speck”-figures (see reference 8 )
After summer 2008 “tele.ring” launched their new endorser for all marketing activities: „Der Inder“ („Indian guy“). “tele.ring” intend to communicate three central attributes through this presenter: (see reference 9)
- wisdom and
The claim “Weg mit dem Speck” is already in use. The “Indian guy” is played by the Austrian actor and dancer Ramesh Nair.
The key elements in the kick-off-phase were TV-spots and outdoor-advertisements like billboards. After launching the new endorser, the “Indian guy” is used in the following channels.
Like in New Zealand and Australia (see reference 10) print (newspapers and magazines) is the most used channel for advertisements, however the telecommunication business in Austria spent less money in print-ads than in TV-spots.
All released print-ads of “tele.ring” since start of the campaign use the “Indian guy” as part of the advertisement.
The “Indian guy” is central part of all TV-spots. As clever, wise and unassuming guy he advises to change the mobile provider (to “tele.ring”) or promotes new offers or rates. That is the storyboard of one of the three kick-off TV-spots: (see reference 11)
Young, good-looking girl is sitting together with an old, fat men in the bath tube.
He asks her: “Would you be together with me, if I’m no millionaire?”
She says: “Just ask the Indian guy”
The Indian guy is in the bath tube as well and says: “Sure not. You only commit you to another if you get a benefit. Therefore here comes the new ‘tele.ring’-sensation:”
The Indian guy continues: “All rates without contract obligations! You can leave all the time”
Off-Voice with further information and “tele.ring - Weg mit dem Speck!” (“Get off the fat”)
3.3. Outdoor (Billboard, Posters, etc.)
Billboard and poster are other central vehicles in the kick-off-phase of the campaign and still used for advertisements. The posters got awards for several times, like as most effective billboard, etc. (see reference 12)
Picture 2: “tele.ring”-billboard (see reference 13)
“tele.ring” uses the new technology of “mobile tagging” (information like urls are encoded in barcodes, after sending a photo of the barcode to the internet the mobile will get feedback) on posters. (see reference 14)
Radio is part of the campaign, the created sound logo (an annoying female voice is singing “Frag doch den Inder!”, “Just ask the Indian guy!”) creates recall in radio-spots and is used in TV-ads too.
3.5. Off-air and events
“tele.ring” is supporting a few big events, like marathons in Vienna and Linz. The sponsorship started by supporting the “get off the fat”-campaign (the fat figures take part in the event, e.g. as start-runners). Now the “Indian guy” participates in events, for example he awards prizes to the best runners at the ceremony of the Vienna City Marathon.
The endorser is part of the company-website (see reference 15), involvement and activity is not available. The page is used as information-platform and web-shop.
Picture 3: “tele.ring”-website-screenshot (see reference 16)
“tele.ring” invests money for online-marketing, like banner-ads. Surveys confirm the impact and recall of these ads regularly. Ads for the Sub-Campaign “Dancing with the Indian guy” had the biggest impact in the second quarter of 2010. (see reference 17)
Picture 4: “tele.ring”-banner-ad (see reference 18)
3.8. Web 2.0 (social network)
“tele.ring” is using social networks like “Facebook” (facebook.com), “The Indian guy” has more than 1300 Fans (see picture 5). The site is updated regularly. (see reference 19)
Picture 5: Facebook-screenshot
On “Twitter“ (twitter.com) “tele.ring” (not the “Indian guy”!) has more than 300 followers (see picture 6). “tele.ring” is using this channel continuous, in july there are more than 60 tweets. (see reference 20)
Picture 6: twitter-screenshot
“tele.ring” has a channel on “YouTube” (youtube.com) and published there a few videos like the most popular TV-ads. (see reference 21)
A fan-page on SMS.at (site to send SMS for free, online-community) has more than 600 members (see picture 7). (see reference 22)
Picture 7: sms.at-screenshot
3.9. Official song
In January 2009 the music label “MG sound” published an official song to the campaign. They use the same music, melody and sound logo as in the TV- and radio-advertisements. The “Indian guy” takes part in the song and music video. The song “Frag doch den Inder” performed by “TripleD IF” entered the official Austrian charts on 2 January 2009 at number 71. The peak position was number 49, at all the song performed in the charts for eight weeks. (see reference 23)
Picture 8: official Song “Frag doch den Inter” (see reference 24)
3.10. Direct sales/POS
In “tele.ring”-shops is the “Indian guy” used on forms and flyers. The endorser is not as same present as in advertisements.
3.11. TV-show „Dancing Stars“
Ramesh Nair, the actor of the “Indian guy”, was part of the TV-show “Dancing Stars” in 2009. “Dancing Stars” is a dance-competition between Austrian Celebrities and was broadcasted by the national public-law TV-station “ORF 1”. (see reference 25) Competitors of “tele.ring” complained this participation and objected product placement. Nair finished the show as second26 and is now a well-known person in Austria.
Picture 9: Ramesh Nair in “Dancing Stars” (see reference 27)
3.12. (Intended) Shift of language use
The repetition of the message effects, that the slogan “Frag doch den Inder” (“Just ask the Indian guy”) will be used more and more. For stupid or rhetorical questions these expression will be used – e.g. in the Austrian Parliament (Ewald Stadler in the 11. session of the Austrian Parliament on 22 January 2009 – see reference 28 – or Heinz-Christian Strache in the 16. session of the Austrian Parliament on 11 March 2009 – see reference 29).
3.13. Sub-Campaign “Tanzen mit dem Inder” (“Dancing with the Indian guy”)
Because of the 10-year-anniversary of the “get off the fat”-claim “tele.ring” created a dance (with Indian music and the “Indian guy” as leader) and uses the dance in TV-, outdoor- and online-advertisements. “tele.ring” intend to get more interaction with customers and involve them into the marketing campaign as follows:
Online: (see reference 30)
- on the website http://tanzen.telering.at (see picture 11) visitors can upload photos of them and their friends (a link to Facebook is possible, visitors can use photos from their friends as well)
- the website generates a video, using the uploaded pictures as heads
- the final video can be posted on Facebook, sent as mail, an unique url can be used too
- this “application” has more than 9.000 friends on Facebook
- as additional feature the complete song can be downloaded at the site
Picture 10: “Tanzen mit dem Inder”-screenshot (see reference 31)
The same method is used in a novel billboard-technology. Cameras integrated in the screen take photos of people in front of the screen and use these pictures for the dance. (see reference 32)
Picture 11: interactive billboard in Vienna (see reference 33)
Other vehicles used for the campaign as well, eg. cinema.
4. Campaign evaluation (integration)
On the previous pages I described the whole campaign the “Indian guy”. The following sites are reserved for the critical evaluation and individual assumptions to understand the integrated marketing concept used by “tele.ring”.
4.1. Target group
Information about target groups are not available. I decide to create a table including relevant demographically and psycho-graphically characteristics.
company: age / income / using multimedia (web, music, photo) / interested in new technologies / call / SMS / web
A1: 30-60 / med-high / 50 % / 70 % / 60 % / 30 % / 10 %
T-Mobile: 25-60 / med-high/ 50 % / 70 % / 50 % / 35 % / 15 %
tele.ring: 15-40 / low / 20 % / 40 % / 45 % / 40 % / 5 %
Orange: 25-60 / low-med / 40 % / 60 % / 50 % / 35 % / 15 %
Drei (3): 25-40 / high / 90 % / 95 % / 50 % / 20 % / 30 %
Table 3: consumers and their preferences
Looking at this table I can outline all characteristics as follows:
The target group of “tele.ring” are younger people (male and female, from 15 to 40 years), with less income (students, worker, housewives, etc.) and high interest in traditional phone functions (sending SMS, voice calling). They are less keen to new mobiles and new technologies on their mobile like surfing in the web, photography or music-listening. The target group is interested in cheap calling and texting (including free time and messages).
4.2. Positioning and image
“tele.ring” is positioned as discounter and low-cost provider on the Austrian market. The brand “tele.ring” is still perceived as an independent company (the owner T-Mobile do not sell “tele.ring”-products in T-Mobile-stores). So “tele.ring” has the advantage to use the full developed mobile network from T-Mobile and act without competitors as discounter on the market (all discounters are only prepaid-products from other mobile network operators).
Easy to use, easy to understand – that is an additional positioning of “tele.ring”, because they offer only a few services and different rates. The services are easy to understand, order or cancel. The corporate identity (CI) and design (CD) is simple and tries to explain the funny, uncomplicated and cheap way of mobile communication. In some cases it looks childish and fancy, may be intended.
“tele.ring” uses distinctive and engraining terms, forms or symbols, they are easy to understand and recall. Contract rates have names like “Basta” (“finish!”), “Super Zehn” (“super ten”) or “Willi” (like the name “Will”), prepaid-products are named “Mücke” (“mosquito”) and “Free Willi” (linked to the movie “Free Willy”).
Marketing campaigns like “get off the fat” and “just ask the Indian guy” support the positioning as low-cost provider, because economy is central part of all messages. “tele.ring” is well known as aggressive marketer by using the same patters all the time and attack competitors in the campaigns too.
The fat-figures or the “Indian guy” assist the message delivery and give the brand “tele.ring” a face. People can link between the endorsement and the product or brand. The “Indian guy” got a high publicity through the TV-show “Dancing Stars”, although the actor and not the endorsement itself was part of the challenge
T (trustworthiness): the “Indian guy” is authentic and believable (in a humorous way)
E (expertise): values of Indian people, no certificates, expertise about all prices and offers of “tele.ring”
A (physical attrectiveness): may be
R (respect): may be
S (similarity to the audience): no
Table 4: critical evaluation of the “Indian guy” as endorser by using the five components in the TEARS model of endorser attributes (see reference 34)
This critical evaluation of the “Indian guy” as endorser for “tele.ring” says, that he is not perfect – a few characteristics are missing. But the “Indian guy” is more presenter (in a very humorous way, giving “tele.ring” a face) than a supportive endorser.
Without internal information it is hard to formulate concrete objectives of “tele.ring” and how they intend to measure the success of the “Indian guy”-campaign. The general objective of T-Mobile (as owner of the brand “tele.ring”) might be to increase the number of customers by attracting new contract- and prepaid-clients, holding existing customers and win market shares from competitors.
The campaign the “Indian guy” had two main objectives:
- refreshing the image of “tele.ring” (adding new values through the “Indian guy”)
- refreshing the presentation of “tele.ring” in all marketing instruments (generate attention)
An evaluation of these objectives is only with research (before and after campaign-launch) possible. Therefore the objective has to be defined precisely (using SMART-criteria: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely).
After launching the new campaign the key message and positioning of “tele.ring” is still the same – as discounter. “Get of the fat” is furthermore part of every advertisement and will be now supported from additional values, illustrated by the “Indian guy”. These values are cleverness, wisdom and unassumingness. They enrich the economy thinking of cheap mobile communication and make the messages less aggressive.
The transmitted content harmonise with the positioning and image of “tele.ring”.
A possible point of critique to the new campaign could be racism against Indian people using typical stereotypes. This discussion was never hold in Austria, because the campaign uses good characteristics of Indian people. I think, the character of the “Indian guy” was well generated and all possible negatives were discussed.
„tele.ring“ uses all traditional media vehicles and marketing instruments, focused on TV-, outdoor- and online-advertisements. Print and radio is used additional and complete the media-mix. Social networks and interactive campaigning (communication including response from the receiver) exists, without concrete strategy.
Figure 1 shows the important and relevant relationships critically (green arrows stand for good connections, red for missing relations).
Figure 1: relations of media vehicles
Last but not least I will evaluate the campaign from the integrative perspective. At first view the new “tele.ring”-presentation is very harmonious: the same symbols, colours, message in all channels. All possible media vehicles are used and the marketing campaign is omnipresent.
The use of Ramesh Nair as endorser or presenter was very clever and the performance on the TV-show “Dancing Stars” supported the publicity of the “Indian guy” – without investments from “tele.ring”. The refresh through the campaign completed the established corporate identity without disrupting them. Existing spots, prints, etc. can used after campaign-launch as well.
The second view of the campaign is worser. If we take a look over traditional channels (TV, print, outdoor) the online integration is incomplete. My impression is, that the campaign was created for TV and print. After launching the marketing departing thought about using it online and other interactive media channels. It is not possible to identify an online strategy.
Some evidence (see figure 1):
- no link between the media vehicles
- no interaction between the media vehicles
- no online-interaction with potential customers or fans of the “Indian guy”
- too less use of company website and web 2.0 for the “Indian guy”-campaign
- Twitter-channel only for “tele.ring”, not the “Indian guy”
- poor use of the “Indian guy” online (company-website)
A positive progress is the sub-campaign “Tanzen mit dem Inder”. The intention to link all media channels and creating a big campaign is visible:
- creating the dance and using it in ads (TV, outdoor, online)
- interaction with consumers (outdoor-billboards, website, Facebook)
- creating an own website and linking it to Facebook (creating a dance-video by using photos from Facebook, posting the video on Facebook or sending a link online) – the Group “Tanzen mit dem Inder” has more than 9.000 fans on Facebook, the “Indian guy” only about 1.350 fans
Figure 2 shows, that this sub-campaign – contrary to the “Indian guy” – is better integrated:
Figure 2: integration of the sub-campaign “Tanzen mit dem Inder”
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