This is the first big brand refresh since Andy Penn took over in mid-2015 Photo: Justin McManus Telstra’s new print campaign highlighting smart home technology. Photo: Supplied
Once a government department managing telephone lines and directory queries, Telstra is rebranding itself as a global company at the core of every future technological advancement.
A new advertising campaign launched on Sunday night came with the tag line “Thrive On” and depicts Telstra shedding the image of the company that sells you a monthly telephone account. Instead it wants to be associated with the magic of experiences, which technology can and will provide.
The telco, which has struggled with popularity in the past because of poor customer service and more recently network faults, wants to become “Australia’s most loved brand by emotionally engaging with people”, according to group managing director of media and marketing at Telstra, Joe Pollard.
“Telstra is evolving from a telco to a techco … Our brand needs to reflect this and demonstrate there are better ways for everyone to thrive in this connected world,” she wrote in blog post released on Monday morning.
The campaign hopes the catch the attention of international businesses that need global communications. It also recognises consumers want the wonder of modern technology without having to understand how it works: Telstra can connect and curate whatever technology comes next for its customers.
The advertisement features a montage of emotional tech experiences such as a grandfather reading to a distant granddaughter, video calls with faraway loved ones or paediatricians, and an attractive artist using her smartphone to complete a large mural.
The campaign is due to launch on television this week and get heavy airplay during the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in August. Telstra also plans to advertise in cinemas, on social media, and in print. It will also leverage its sponsorship partners, such as the Australian Ballet. It is the first re-branding since chief executive Andrew Penn took the reins in May 2015.
His predecessor, David Thodey, brought out the Telstra “colours” re-branding which introduce a rainbow palette to its brands. Telstra is keeping the rainbow theme but will do new photography to create warmer colour palettes and update the faces in its advertising to include more multicultural faces as this is “how Australia looks and is”, says Ms Pollard.
The campaign was done by advertising agency The Monkeys and branding by Interbrand. It features music from electro duo Flight Facilities and was created by film production company Revolver.
The decision to run the advertising campaign through the Olympics comes despite the Australian Olympic Committee seeking to distance Australian athletes from Telstra.
Optus replaced Telstra as an official sponsor of the AOC last year, and the AOC took action in the Federal Court on Friday in to stop Telstra from running olympic-themed television commercials.
“Unfortunately, some companies try to mislead the Australian public into believing they support the Australian Olympic Team or have an involvement with the Olympic Movement when they don’t,” the AOC said in a statement.
“In 2015, Telstra and the AOC mutually decided not to continue their long-standing partnership. It is therefore extremely disappointing to witness Telstra’s “I go to Rio” marketing campaign, which the AOC regards as a clear attempt to deceive Australians”.
Telstra told reporters on Friday that it had already taken steps to address the AOC’s concerns.
Telstra shares last traded at $5.75. The stock has risen 9 per cent since June 15.