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Case study - Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Media

Case study - Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Media

Virgin Media taps 4th Screen Advertising to go mobile

Name of marketer 
Virgin Media, London

Name of agency  
4th Screen Advertising, London, which is part of global integrated mobile and digital communications business Mobile Interactive Group (MIG)

Campaign/program name
"Mobile advertising drives sports uptake for Virgin Media" and "4th Screen Advertising debuts calendar sync format with Virgin Media mobile advertising campaign"

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The Virgin Media mobile campaign ran over three consecutive weekends in August and was specifically designed to target iPhone users.

The campaign was timed to coincide with the start of the English Premier League, which kicked off on Aug. 14 and ends on May 2, 2011. 

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Sir Richard Branson is founder and chairman of Virgin Group

Virgin Media's objectives were to raise awareness of Virgin Media HD football (soccer) packages via mobile advertising and to specifically target iPhone users.

The brand wanted to use new innovative and creative mobile advertising formats to engage football fans browsing the Guardian mobile Internet site.

Target audience
4th Screen Advertising's goal was to enable Virgin Media to effectively target its demographic of male football/soccer fans ages 18-35.

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The strategy behind running this mobile campaign with this creative solution was to capture the user in the moment, whereby they are exposed to the advertising message and a clear call-to-action encouraging them to learn more about Virgin Media products and services. 

Additionally the campaign provided added value with the calendar sync format, which provided the user with the fixture list of televised Premier League games until December - those that had been announced to date - directly onto their iPhone calendar. 

The purpose was to put users into the mind set of becoming a Virgin Media customer.

Football fans simply clicked on the banner, viewed the ad creative which expanded to make full use of the full iPhone screen size and presented the user with two calls-to-action: "Find out more about Virgin Media Football Packages" and "Sync televised games with calendar." 

Mobile advertising agency 4th Screen Advertising claims that it has achieved incredible results with the delivery of its first calendar sync campaign, which with one click from the rich media mobile ad promoted Virgin Media’s sports packages and synced all televised football games onto the users iPhone calendar. 

Information included the entire season’s sporting calendar for the Premier League, additional information on game fixtures, the teams playing and the time of kick-off.   

The 100 percent takeover of the Guardian's mobile Internet site was a first for Virgin Media.

The creative execution with full-page rich media ad formats drove interactivity with the brand. 

4th Screen Advertising reported that week-part and device targeting was highly effective.

The campaign demonstrates how new rich media formats can drive new levels of consumer engagement, per Virgin Media. 

“This campaign helped drive awareness of the great sports packages available from Virgin Media, both in SD and amazing High Definition, at the start of the Premier League season," said Richard Duff-Tytler, senior online marketing manager at Virgin Media.

"And it helped us make sure avid football fans wouldn’t miss a match on TV," he said. "It’s been great to work with the team at 4th Screen and we look forward to more successful campaigns in the near future.

"During the quarter, we also added over 100,000 Sky premium subscribers to reach a total of 725,000, which included 52,000 customers who have subscribed to Sky Sports HD and/or Sky Movies HD since launch in August."

Lessons learned
Clear branded messages are a really positive way to communicate Virgin Media’s offers to potential customers, and utilising this format delivered added value to the user, really demonstrating the benefits of using mobile advertising an interactive communication channel.

“The mobile solution to this campaign enabled Virgin Media to gain incremental reach through The Guardian mobile users," Mr. Duff-Tytler said.

"With site takeover the advertising message to the user was immediate and encouraged users to interact with the Virgin Media brand directly giving them access to Virgin Media packages available and The Premier League fixtures synchronized directly to their personal handsets,” he said.

Surprise finding
The new creative format was highly successful with hundreds of downloads which clearly demonstrated consumers are happy and willing to interact with mobile advertising, providing there is something in it for them – in this case, being notified of all games throughout the football/soccer season.

“New creatives in mobile advertising continue to go beyond anything other mediums can provide, ensuring a visually rich and engaging experience," said Tim Scoffham, account director at 4th Screen Advertising. 

"The Virgin Media campaign was creative in its execution, engaged readers and used week-part and device targeting, as we knew that 70 percent of consumers browsing the Guardian mobile Internet site did so using an iPhone, essentially enabling Virgin Media to effectively target their demographic of 18-35-year-old male football fans," he said.  

“Combining technological advancements, device and time targeting contextual adverting with the right publisher demonstrates mobile advertising drives engagement at a time that is right for the consumer. It’s good to see such great brands such as Virgin Media and the Guardian coming together to deliver such value for the end user.”

Final Take


Related content: Case studies, Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Media, Richard Duff Tytler, 4th Screen Advertising, Tim Scoffham, mobile marketing, mobile

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