Is this really the best Orange can do?

I posted last December on the “death spiral” of the once great brand, Orange. They have slipped from leading the UK, both in share and image, to be number 4. Tom Alexander was brought in from Virgin Mobile, and was hailed as the saviour. And boy, has he got his hands full. As the visual below shows, they’ve zig zagged their way through one different communication campaign per year. Any brand meaning Orange had has been diluted. 

So, after 6 months of the Tom era, its time for a drum roll, bated breath and the revealing of the new campaign. It will be rolled out to no less than 26 countries and use every media channel you can dream of. So, is this the beginning of a renaissance for Orange?

Uh, no.

You can watch the ad by clicking below if you’re on the blog, or here on You Tube.

In it, a chap talks about all the people who have made him who he is, with the repetition of the phrase “I am”: “I am my mum”, “I am all the girls I’ve kissed” etc. And that is, well, it. Yup. That’s your lot. No point of view on mobile communication. Absolutely nothing at all about why we should consider signing up with Orange. Nada. Rien. Zilch.

The press ads are just as bad. See one of them below. Again, a person reels off the people who made them who they are.
Picture 2

But, again, what the hell has this got to do with Orange? Absolutely bloody nothing as far as I can see. She certainly didn’t talk to any of the people she describes on her mobile phone.

Perhaps Orange have taken too seriously the advice in their brilliant cinema ads. These use the line “Don’t let a mobile phone spoil your movie” to remind you to turn off your phone (click below for an example). The Orange guys try to force-fit a mobile into a movie script with hilarious consequences. With “I am”, its as if the agency have indeed said, “Please don’t let your mobile phone spoil our movie”, taking out anything to do with Orange.

In an earlier post, I had a go at O2’s new campaign for being generic, rather than differentiating. Well Orange have made the O2 work suddenly look highly differentiated and product-led. At least O2 have a highly impactful and memorable visual brand world (blue and bubbles), and the brand has a point of view: “We’re better connected”.

My guess is that we’ll be back here in a year or so talking about the next installment in the “Orange campaign of the year”.