The 5 Best Mobile Adverts of 2008

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Orange broadband, O2, Virgin media or BT? Just who had the best mobile advert in 2008?


Orange: I Am Everyone

It was a frantic 12 months for Orange broadband and mobile. Revealing their most-recent zoo-inspired mobile tariffs in the New Year, the organisation thought it best to remain with the soul-lifting and emotive promotional campaigns that have carried the Orange broadband and mobile promotions in the past and the advertising division gave the viewing public the ‘I Am Everyone’ advertisement in July.

If the style is familiar, it’s because Orange have hit that theme before. Older readers will recall the New York City blackout advert and the Orange broadband campaign starring a goldfish caught in a bowl. Two years ago, the story was much the same; Orange broadband subscribers will probably recall the ‘Toy’ campaign the company ran to support its Orange broadband service. Two clockwork models in loving embrace together.

The ‘I Am Everyone’ advert slips into the top 5 list of the best mobile adverts because it ticks all the right boxes. It’s emotional and poignant and, unless you’re exceptionally cynical, reminds viewers that there’s so much more to life than cars and DIY. Sadly though, it’s more of the same from Orange and the promotion gives the viewer nothing unique from the Orange broadband or mobile promotions viewers have already seen today, last week or last decade. “Friendship?” one marketer commented on a website. “Are they including random peoples’ MSN contact details with their Orange broadband subscriptions now?”


O2 Better: Connected

Design agencies certainly drank too much coffee this year and O2’s Better Connected broadband promotion traced the creative trail left by the Orange broadband campaign; highlighting the notion of UK residents becoming friends via their mobile. O2 went a little more surreal though.

An advertisement that took place on a planet where teddy bears commute, dogs climb onto roofs and three moons float into the sky each evening, O2 certainly didn’t hold back the crazy with this campaign, effectively outdoing the advert from Orange broadband in regards to imagination. The campaign was such a triumph, the same bizarre theme was used for O2’s home broadband package campaign later in the year; the television advert panning through an animated row of houses that were without O2 broadband. Needless to say, the homes looked quite sad to be denied O2 broadband. Strangely enough, the personification of inanimate objects was previously used in a promotional campaign for Orange broadband; a fish despondently swam laps in a bowl, anxious to meet up with a shoal in the nearby sea. Presumably, its jealousy stemmed from the fact all these fish had Orange broadband too.


Virgin: Mother of All Broadband

The bank vault of Sir Richard Branson was deep enough to reel in two Hollywood stars for Virgin’s 2008 broadband campaign; Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman both appeared in the promotional campaign for Virgin’s ‘Mother Of All Broadband’ package.

Pulling in two of Hollywood’s largest names for its broadband package campaign automatically means Virgin win the war against its competitors for the biggest names (O2 utilised the talents of Sean Bean, while Orange Broadband featured cyclist Mark Beaumont). Although, the broadband advert relies on more than just Hollywood glamour and once you look past the fact that Mia Wallace is selling you broadband, you realise that it’s quite a well-designed piece of television. So why does Virgin broadband linger in third place for the best mobile advert of 2008?

Quite frankly, once the early star factor of Hollywood’s finest wears off, you’re no longer wowed by a flickering bright orange broadband sign; there’s not much else there. Still, a third place finish is not something to be mocked and a light applause all round for Virgin’s attempt.


Orange: Film Funding Board

Another year has passed and another batch of Orange film adverts have come to our multi-plex screens, a campaign which was miles apart from the sensitive tone of the aforementioned Orange broadband and mobile adverts, unlike the ‘I Am Everyone’ advert or the Orange broadband campaigns – bold, large-scale adverts for Orange broadband and mobile services – these adverts keep their tongue firmly in their cheek; brief, minute-long adverts aimed squarely at smacking around the reputation of some of Hollywood’s largest stars.

The end result is a promotional campaign that is not only funnier than the Orange broadband and mobile adverts but also more appealing. While we give props for the sentimental campaigns Orange sometimes produce – we’re looking at you, Orange broadband goldfish – the Film Funding Board advertising campaign runs rings around it. It’s a brilliant demonstration of how humour can promote a product. Sadly, it’s not classic enough for a gold medal in the quest for the best mobile advert 2008.


BT: Adam and Jane

The champion of the best mobile advert in 2008 comes from communications company BT, beating both the 02 and Orange broadband advertising. Adam and Jane, featuring Brit actor Kris Marshal, proved to be the most innovative and, at times, emotional mobile advert on television in 2008. The £11 million advertisement was, like the best television adverts always are, uncomplicated, straight-forward and emotional, hammering the style of the Virgin advert and defeating Orange broadband’s campaign without breaking into a sweat. An advertising campaign which followed told the story of the relationship between Adam and single-mom Jane, BT’s approach to its broadband advertising was simple and successful.

The British public became emotionally invested in the lives of Jane and Adam – a Facebook group was set up campaigning for industry bosses to get the couple back into a relationship after an advert suggested they had split up. Alas, there love was not to be eternal and after another advert in November, it became apparent that the relationship between Adam and Jane had run its course. A sad day for all concerned. Still, this was a genuinely engaging advert, so well done to the team at BT for making us all like Kris Marshall again. Orange broadband will be kicking themselves for not thinking of it first.

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