Wharf T&T's latest ad push fails to translate

Wharf T&T’s latest push to expand its B2B business to Hong Kong's 310,000 SMEs, has received mixed reviews, with a campaign to promote its Information & Communications Technology (ICT) products and online services having an unwelcomed side effect.

Created by production house Glance Ltd, the campaign comprises a series of three TV commercials cast by local celebrity Mandy Lieu, challenging the company by asking "Isn't that ICT? It's much more than a 'Telco'".

To highlight its two main products, the first two episodes open with Lieu asking "Wharf T&T, what does it sell?". The spots then try to give the answers by showcasing a cloudy-patterned boxer to represent "Cloud" and a net jacket as "Net". Both spots end with Lieu challenging: "Isn't that ICT? It's much more than a 'Telco'".

Samantha Lee, head of corporate communications at Wharf T&T, told Marketing the campaign aims to visualise "intangible concepts" (Cloud Computing and Internet) for audiences to better understand its ICT services.

The third episode then brings the series to a wrap-up stage that leaded with a gimmicky slogan “No Mouth is Too Big”, daring the company to make a pledge to deliver more all-around ICT solutions.

Lee said this is a self-deprecating tactic to underline its diversified products.

But the campaign is also having an unexpected side effect - audiences are confused.

It is understood that Wharf T&T had received feedback concerning the ambiguity of the ads, with customers finding difficult to understand what the ads are trying to say.

"The main focus for this campaign is to create noise and to increase audiences' interest level of this campaign so as to our brand," Lee stressed.

"We don't expect audiences to understand the messages at once; the gimmicky approach is for sparking more conversation."

The campaign will run until July spanning TV, outdoor TV, print, mobile, online platforms, social media and a string of PR events, putting Lieu's lips in the limelight.

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