"Life's For Sharing" by T-Mobile

Let's talk about a campaign that causes me to inexplicably burst into tears. If you haven't already seen T-Mobile's "Life's For Sharing" campaign, you're probably living under a rock. Thus far, the campaign consists of two large-scale public stunts. First they surprised commuters in Liverpool Street Station by organizing a massive dance break, and now they've done it again, bringing 13,000+ people into Trafalgar Square to sing "Hey Jude" karaoke-style.

For all you rock-dwellers out there, here are the videos.

This is what happens when a company puts a little thought, effort, money and heart into their marketing. They are getting hundreds of thousands of views a week and sitting solidly at the top of AdAge's Viral Video Chart. People are watching these videos over and over and sharing the gospel - blogging, tweeting, posting, forwarding and linking these videos into every nook and cranny of the web.

What did T-Mobile do differently from the countless other brands trying to infiltrate the masses virally? They abandoned the stereotypes of "savvy internet users," realized that the people who use the internet are humans, and created their ads accordingly. I also have to give them mad props for their excellent song choices. Bang up job, T-Mobile, cheers and all that. Now, if only your service was as good as your marketing...


Anonymous said...

This boomer was living under a rock because I hadn't seen these ads until you pointed them out to me. I agree! They are superb! I too teared up. Great marketing! Have to take exception to your T-mobile service comment. Here in the Midwest T-Mobile is pretty great service.

Doug Anderson said...

Terrific ads! Remarkable things can happen when we stop advertising what we have...and start communicating what people want. I love that T-Mobile tore a page out of Facebook/Twitter/etc. and let the users generate the content...how could it not be relevant???


social said...


Nice blog you got here. I read your article on AdAge and was wondering how you submitted it to them. Or do you actually write for AdAge?

Greetings from another blogger!


Adrienne Waldo said...

I'm glad to see people are as passionate about this campaign as I am! I still go back and watch these videos over and over. Yeah, I'm dorky like that...

Doug, I agree about user-generated content. It's so much more relevant now than ever before. It's blurring the line between the marketer and the consumer, and I'm not sure that's such a bad thing!

Esteban, I just recently started there as a guest blogger. I was recommended by a friend, so I'm not sure what the process is for submitting an article to them. I can certainly ask around though!

Umar Ghumman said...

I have to agree with you on this Adrienne. It is a fascinating piece of advertising. Entertaining, engaging and simple! I wish I was there too!

MarketingJeffLong said...

Love the blog Adrienne, but I am going to take a somewhat different point of view. I do think they were moving from a, remembering we are still people behind all the tech these days, but I may be a little influenced by my desire to drive sales with advertising? Do these ads do this? How many people switched their cell phone provider because of them? How relevant are they to the core of what T-Mobile offers. It would have been more powerful had they integrated the use of their own technology somehow, like everyone's phones providing the sound track or something. OK that may be a little out there, but you get the idea. Again I just want to see how it leads to sales before I declare it a victory. But thanks for providing them I hadn't seen the "Hey Jude" one.

Adrienne Waldo said...

Jeff - you make a good point. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the fun of a campaign and forget that the objective is to make sales or generate leads. I notice that a lot with campaigns that win the Cannes Lions. They're often amazingly creative but kind of obscure, making me wonder how effective they are out in the market.

But I get the feeling with this campaign that their primary objective wasn't to generate sales, just boost their brand image. If so, they nailed it. I think in the long run, having a strong brand image is useful when you go in for the hard sell, especially for a cell phone service provider - a huge commitment. It's easy to imagine: someone's contract ends with one provider and they are considering switching. Are they going to remember back to that print ad they read about nationwide coverage or are they going to remember the video where 13,000 people gathered to sing karaoke "Hey Jude"?

I think it's difficult to reach Millennials with a sales message. We drown it out, so in some instances,brands have to get creative and let go of the "hard sell" model in favor of something memorable and viral. When the time comes to buy and we remember the interesting brands, we'll do our research, read the reviews and let the product sell itself.

I do agree that there's a conspicuous lack of product and technology featured in the ads. I'm a big believer that it's possible to be memorable/viral and promote your product at the same time (e.g. Ray-Ban's chameleon commercial).