£60m Vodafone goes to Grey from Y&R – but will anything change very much?

Vodafone’s £60m account has moved from RKCR/Y&R (owned by WPP) to Grey (also owned by WPP).

Daryl Fielding, Vodafone’s director of brand marketing, says: “We have been aiming to bring our consumer brand work into fewer agencies for some time, as this allows us to foster a closer working relationship with them and also ensures greater consistency across all channels.

“The Grey team has demonstrated their understanding of the category and the market challenges, as well as our commercial needs.

“They successfully translated this insight into a new, well-branded and scalable creative vehicle and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.”

Grey worked on Vodafone alongside Y&R, handling ‘network differentiation’ work, whatever that was. It has, however, produced some outstanding work for Vodafone Ireland.

The facts are that Vodafone has been in WPP’s pocket for years; changing from Y&R to Grey is hardly earth shattering. Yet, in all that time, it has signally failed to produce a compelling ad campaign. Y&R’s ‘power to you,’ in all its guises, is just fluff.

Vodafone pioneered the whole mobile industry when it emerged from a British company called Racal, which provided secure communications for the military. But now it’s a company with loads of money but a shortage of ideas.

Last year CEO Vittorio Colao sold Vodafone’s half stake in US mobile giant Verizon for $130bn, but that only succeeded in halving Vodafone’s stock market value to $100bn. The company has been left behind by rivals like BT, which has just bought EE to launch new ‘quad-play’ services.

Will Grey be able to revitalise Vodafone? First of all Vodafone has got to find something to say.

Now the third in the UK market behind BT/EE and O2, Vodafome needs to do something dramatic. It could try to buy Sky but the Murdochs wouldn’t wear it. The most obvious way to restore its market share would be to use its cash pile to launch a price war, mobile smartphone contracts are ludicrously expensive.

Is CEO Colao bold enough?

This is an updated version of a previous story.

Back to top button