GOLD award

GOLD award

Client: Orange

Title: How two years of advertising created 12 years of value

Agency: WCRS

Nominated author: Charles Vallance

Nominated client: Sean Gardner


This paper was the clear winner in the category. It was particularly

admired for some insightful strategic thinking which identified a

sizeable opportunity for the Orange brand, even though it was a late

entrant in the mobile market and was initially written off by many


None of the existing players had yet created a brand identity which

captured consumers’ imagination, and the paper offers an excellent

example of how insightful consumer thinking led to a brand identity

which provided a strong competitive advantage, allowing Orange to catch

up and overtake the existing players in a very short space of time.

The strongly branded campaign which ensued enabled specific elements of

the brand’s offering - both brand and tactical - to be communicated at

all levels of the marketing mix.

The paper is an excellent example of how to deal effectively with the

issues surrounding advertising evaluation within an integrated marketing



When Orange launched into the crowded mobile phones market, most

forecasters were pessimistic about its prospects. There seemed little

room for a latecomer in a sector with two established competitors and a

successful new entrant already digging itself in.

A careful look at the market, however, suggested that being late offered

one advantage: Orange could avoid the mistake which other mobile

operators had made. Mobile phones should have been a popular and

exciting sector. Instead, it had become a commodity market, with lots of

negative perceptions. Branding and brand values were largely absent.

The opportunity for Orange was to steer clear of the ghetto and develop

a fully rounded brand identity, standing for a series of positive

values. Extensive qualitative research was used to develop an optimum

positioning: the Wireless Future.

Given the uncertainty surrounding Orange at launch, it was also

imperative that the advertising should imbue the brand with confidence.

This was achieved through a media strategy which used posters to herald

each new campaign, television to communicate core brand values and

newspapers to convey detailed information.

Tracking studies through Millward Brown, the market research

consultancy, show that within two years, Orange enjoyed greater

spontaneous awareness than either Cellnet or Vodafone, and all the key

messages were being absorbed.

In addition, Orange’s brand image soon transcended the opposition, there

were dramatic improvements in the awareness scores on network benefits,

and Orange’s constant emphasis on value for money led to intent-to-

purchase scores for Orange outstripping all competitors - intentions

which turned to reality as sales of the brand outstripped those of all

digital system rivals.

Millward Brown was also asked to develop an econometric model to provide

further evidence of the effectiveness of the advertising. Isolating

other variables, this put the number of connections generated by the

advertising at 61,000, which equates to pounds 128m in additional

revenue, exceeding payback by more than four times.

And this is seen as a conservative estimate, as the model cannot account

for the longer-term effects of the advertising.

But WCRS goes further, arguing that the total contribution could be well

in excess of pounds 300m. That’s because of the unusual circumstances of

Orange’s flotation, which used a method known as discounted cash flow.

This based the valuation of the company on projected revenues, which

were certainly larger than they would have been because of the success

of the advertising strategy..


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