Knowledge: Sector insight case study - #30yearsVodafone

We take a look at the #30yearsVodafone campaign, as the brand looks to reinforce its position in the world of telecomms.

Vodafone celebrated the first mobile phone call made in the UK on its network 30 years ago
Vodafone celebrated the first mobile phone call made in the UK on its network 30 years ago


Mobile communications brand Vodafone wanted to celebrate the UK's first-ever mobile phone call made on its network, which took place 30 years ago on 1 January 1985.

The #30yearsVodafone campaign aimed to highlight and reinforce the brand's position as a telecommunications industry pioneer and a market leader in delivering 'firsts' for the past 30 years. Primarily targeting Vodafone UK's existing and prospective customers, the campaign combined traditional marketing, social media and experiential activity.

It had to appeal to a broad demographic, from using nostalgia to engage Generation X, who would have witnessed the launch of mobile technology, to attracting millennials with an immersive journey back in time.


Agency Wasserman Experience created an experiential platform telling the story of 30 years of Vodafone and the evolution of mobile technology. '1984G Street' involved a 1980s pop-up in London's Covent Garden, from 16-18 January, with actors in costume.

It featured shops that would have offered products and services now available through smartphones, the aim being to showcase 4G.

Highlights included Spotify Records and Now TV Rentals. The former was an 80s-style record store with original vinyls and a DJ/store clerk, which gave customers the chance to pick a record to play in-store or receive a Spotify playlist sent to their mobile phone. Now TV Rentals, meanwhile, was an eerily realistic remake of the much-loved VHS rental shops of yesteryear. Organisers also created Vodafone's original retail store, with retro handsets and interactive elements.


The activation's aim was to be subtle, fun and immersive to show how making phone calls, sharing photos, listening to music, watching movies, playing games and sharing experiences with friends began to change exponentially with Vodafone's first mobile phone call.

Competitions were held at different stores, one of which was an app-based 80s quiz where guests could win smartphones and tickets to a gig at Scala on the event's last day. It brought together 1980s legends Run-DMC and rising star Raleigh Ritchie, with 500 fans attending.

A total of 8,142 people visited the street and #30yearsVodafone delivered the best positive shift that Vodafone UK has ever seen on social media. There were more than 2,500 online mentions, delivering a 20 per cent spike in positive sentiment for the brand.

On reflection

"The evolution becoming apparent across many brand campaigns is of a seamless integration between digital/social and experiential. Our campaign was an example of how a cross-pollination between the two elements can deliver success." - George Kapellos, senior brand engagement manager, Vodafone Group.

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