Law of the jingle pays off handsomely for WiMax

Thu, Oct 14, 2010, 01:00

MEDIA & MARKETING:Can’t get that catchy tune out of your head? You’re not alone, writes SIOBHAN O'CONNELL

CATCHY JINGLES can be very effective in advertising. Remember “For Mash Get Smash” or “Do The Shake ’n Vac”? Lately, Pittsburgh busker JJ Thompson and his catchy jingle for telecom company Imagine’s new broadband product WiMax has proved that nothing works in advertising quite like a good idea allied to a catchy tune.

The WiMax commercial shows Thompson sitting on a stool playing a guitar against a black curtain backdrop. Using the basic guitar chords of F, C and G, the song announces that WiMax is coming across the nation, that it’s the new sensation and next generation. In addition we learn that WiMax is “Faster better cheaper/No line rental fee/For more information/See imagine.ie.”

What’s unusual about this effective advertising is that it was dreamt up in-house. Imagine marketing director Ben Kealy explains: “Because we are competing against telecom companies with massive budgets, we can’t compete just on ad spend. To build WiMax, we knew we needed a catchy kind of ad that people would remember. The idea for the jingle and the ad came from our marketing executive Ciaran Doyle. He wrote it and we liked it. Ciaran’s friend JJ was in town and he came into the office with his guitar and sang it for us. Then we knew it could work.”

Kealy used to head up the marketing function in EBS building society and he recalls how it could take weeks just casting a TV commercial to make sure the characters would resonate well with the public. With JJ Thompson, Imagine just plunged right in.

What started as a radio ad soon moved to television and then subsequently went online with spoof viral ads scripted and recorded by Oliver “Nob Nation” Callan featuring JJ auditioning for X Factor and Jedward recording the jingle too.

WiMax is a form of wireless broadband with the internet signal delivered from a base station to a router in the home or office. It’s a new technology in Ireland and Kealy says Imagine’s investment in advertising, marketing and financing teams of door-to-door direct sales people amounts to €5 million. “That’s a lot of money but our competitors could spend that amount in a couple of months,” says Kealy.

The primary market for WiMax is people who don’t have a phone line and so can’t use DSL internet. To announce the launch of WiMax last October, Imagine booked a 200-site 48-sheet outdoor poster teaser campaign to generate curiosity. As with all of its subsequent advertising, the ads were created and booked by Kealy and his marketing team, with the planning executed by Liam Pender at Open Communications.

The jingle campaign started in Dublin with radio ads on 98FM and FM104 and then Today FM. For television advertising, Kealy went exclusively with TV3. Imagine is paying €850,000 to sponsor TV3’s live coverage of the Uefa Europa League and Kealy is hoping that Liverpool will have a good run in the competition. Between the sponsorship and the TV spots, Kealy puts his TV spend at about €1.5 million over the course of the last year.

Every lead the campaign generates is tracked, whether it’s from the radio, TV or online ads. Kealy says Imagine is getting upwards of 4,000 leads a month from the TV ads but only 60 per cent of those are from people in areas where Imagine can offer a service at the moment. “We use freetext instead of an 1890 number and we are converting about 40 per cent of our text message inquiries. I still have my door-knockers but most of our sales are coming from the above-the-line advertising leads. The cost per sale in the call centre is also lower than the cost per sale from our door-to-door staff.”

Of his radio spend, Kealy says: “Sponsoring the Dermot Dave breakfast show on 98FM has worked well for us. We have moved with them to the drivetime slot and have signed on as sponsors until the end of the year. The ads don’t drive people to pick up the phone and ring us. But they go to our website, find the information they need and then they ring the number on the website.

“Going with just TV3 has given us a bit more flexibility than we would have got with RTÉ. TV3 also made the ad for us. Their man Jonathan Henderson came back to us with a better idea for the TV ad and we filmed six or seven variations of the ad in one day. We are proof that an Irish company can build a brand without using expensive ad agencies. From our perspective it allows us to get very close to the media owners and build up a good relationship with them.”