Orange Wednesdays: killing a valuable brand property

EE is axing its Orange Wednesdays promotion that allowed Orange customers to buy two cinema tickets for the price of one every Wednesday by texting the word "film" to 241. The promotion had been running for an impressive 11 years since starting back in 2003. This looks like another sad sign of the demise of the Orange brand, as the parent company invests in the new EE brand, starving the once strong Orange of investment and innovation. It strike me as being a shame to ditch this brand property. Here's why.

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Throwing away memory structure

The company itself called Orange Wednesdays an "iconic" promotion. Mobile networks is a market where people are mainly focused on price, and so its rare to have a distinctive property like this. Orange Wednesdays was a nice feature to add something non-price related to the Orange offer, both for new prospects and for existing customers.

I wonder if EE have hard data to show just how strong this property is. According to our research, the answer to this is probably "no". Most decisions to ditch brand properties are caused by a management change, or done on judgement.

Missed chance to refresh the property 

EE are right when they say here that  "After 10 great years our customers’ viewing habits have also evolved". Sure, more people watching films on mobile devices. But, er, Orange is a mobile network brand. Why not refresh and re-invent the Orange Wednesdays promotion to include new forms of entertainment, such as an offer to have a free movie download? One explanation is that marketers love doing new stuff, rather than refreshing the core. Indeed, EE are "working on new customer entertainment rewards" but they will use a new concept to promote these.

In conclusion, killing Orange Wednesdays looks at first sight like another example of changing brand properties leading to equity dilution. We will see what Orange come up with to replace Orange Wednesdays in 2015 and whether they can create the same memory structure with the new idea.