What’s in a name? Quite a lot, actually!

Most people think the best way to stand out in an overcrowded marketplace is to shout the loudest. But while the challengers were busy trying to outdo each other for decibels, we helped Belgium’s largest mobile provider engage consumers on a more personal level. Check out the campaign that quite literally put Proximus on first-name terms with over 8 million Belgians!

Challenge.

Telecom is one of the hardest and closest fought battlegrounds in advertising. So when given the task of convincing a bigger chunk of its ranks to make the move to Proximus, we knew it was going to take something special to grab the attention of both consumers and the mainstream media.

What we did.

So amongst all the anonymous chatter of the challengers, we decided to get up close and personal for the brand that, after all, is all about bringing people closer to together. As part of a comprehensive outdoor campaign, not 1 but 2500 different versions of the same poster were hung up across the country, each addressing a consumer by his/her first name. That’s 2500 of the most common first names in Belgium: from Eva to Albert, Mohamed, Jean, Maria and 2450 others: good for 80% of the Belgian population, all reminded at random in bus and tram stops, stations, shopping streets and busy intersections that, “It’s time to join Proximus.”

But what about poor Orthaire, the only one of his kind in Belgium? Well, for him, we decided to make an exception and go one step further. No personalised poster but in its place, a full radio spot broadcast just for him, with the message that, of course, it’s also time for him to join Proximus. 

What we got.

To convince journalists that it’s also time to start writing about the campaign, we sent them their very own copy of the abribus, customised with their own first name and wrapped in a press release outlining the campaign. This soft launch of the campaign already earned us column space. One journalist even went in search of the solitary Orthaire for an interview.

To create an even bigger buzz, we decided in a second phase to up the ante - both on Twitter and out in the open - with an abribus strategically positioned opposite the offices of competitor, Telenet, addressed to its then CEO, Duco Sickinge. A photo of the ad soon appeared on Twitter and before long, became the talking point of the day. It even prompted a comical reply from Telenet itself via Twitter and the exchange soon caught the attention of the nation’s major newspapers and Flanders’ premier consumer radio show. Proof that even commercially oriented campaigns can become newsworthy with the right PR angle and the right story behind them!