When Vodafone hired the singers Dua Lipa and Liam Payne to perform last year at an event to launch its Voxi youth network, it was the latest sign of a big telecoms company looking to refresh its brand. Telecoms companies are striving to reconnect with consumers and avoid being seen as mere utilities, even as internet businesses capture an ever-larger share of consumer attention.
Twenty years ago, telecoms companies were the kings of Adland. Whether it was actor Bob Hoskins telling us “it’s good to talk” or Orange’s “the future’s bright” slogan, the sector generated the sort of consumer excitement to justify the billions of dollars needed to build the wireless and broadband networks.
That fed a rise in brand value as the sector’s largest players fought for supremacy. The telecoms market boomed and the branding battle culminated in 2000 when Vodafone signed a then-record breaking £30m deal to emblazon its “comma” logo on Manchester United’s shirts.
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