Type in ’48 Go Conquer controversy’ to Google and the second indexed search you’ll find is ‘ 48 Go Conquer- Can this be legal?’.
This campaign first caught my attention when it was launched a few months ago. I remember because at the seasoned age of 23, this was the first time I was too old to participate in anything, apart from the obvious, such as babies swimming pools etc.
Those aged between 18 and 22 were invited to enjoy the best 48 months of their lives with the exclusive network. Anyone outside of this age bracket were not seen as eligible or in other words not young, impressionable and possibly drunk enough to join. But I’m not here to join the many decrepit 23 +’s out there who are accusing the network of being ageist and encouraging antisocial behaviour. I think the campaign might just be a stroke of genius. In creating such controversy and forcing those aged over 22 to rant on about ageism, aren’t the mobile network just forcing it’s non members to prove their point; that you become more prone to unfounded and bland outrage after you exit the best 48 months of your life.
The network is like an outrageous and selective nightclub who refuses entry on a regular basis. Those who cant get in are left ranting outside, yet all the while gaping through the windows to see what they’re missing out on.
The campaign proved that the best way to increase interest in a club is to say ‘ You can get in because you’re special but these disgusting people can’t’.
All this controversy and this is before we even consider the ads. I will admit, having gone through college in Ireland, I can say, first hand that the ad resembles nothing of real life. Everything is in slow motion, no one is sweating. The ads do give a suggestive nod to a bit of sexual looseness but I don’t think this is what irritated the Irish public so much. What annoyed them is that the ad seemed to overlook reality and make them feel too fast and sweaty by comparison. Again to defend the thought behind this ad, we don’t buy products to give us what we already have, we lust after products and services to give us a taste of the unobtainable. 48 targeted those who had never yet been to college so could only assume that if they signed with this network that they would resemble those in the ads. This is the very premise that advertising is based on, don’t get mad at 48 for playing this very old game very, very well.
48 then released a fake job application online. It was offensive, vapid and had more than an American twang to it- the 48 campaign tone of voice. They have done such a good job of causing outrage and just being ridiculous that no one really knew if they were serious or not. I’m still not entirely sure.
It is of no surprise that the advertising standards authority received numerous complaints. the company have been ordered to behave and stop putting half naked women on buses, everyone should be decent and under water like in the lovely o2 ads.
To finish up I would like to say that I hope 48 keep going with their current brand image. As much as some people don’t respect them now, they stand to lose much more respect if they surrender and tone their image down.
The network entered a very competitive market place and managed to create a unique selling point almost entirely based on image. They may be irritating but we know they’re name and if the people who you want to attract are joining your network then who cares what those outside your target market are saying?
48, well done , you big seedy posers.