Public wants Canadians to subscribe to something different

Who: Public Mobile, with Camp Jefferson for creative and strategy; Merchant for production; Outsider Editorial, Tantrum, Berkeley and Oso Audio for post-production, with Jungle Media for media insights, and Cossette Media for buying.

What: “Different is Calling,” the launch campaign for a new 5G subscription plan, which Public wants to emphasize is different from other plans in market.

When & Where: The campaign is running now through the rest of the year. It’s an expansive buy, across TV and OLV, as well as out-of-home, radio and other digital and social.

Why: For a very long time, the mobile market in Canada was divided into two options: prepaid and postpaid. Public says it has come up with a new option, on a 5G network, currently the top technology in the category (6G isn’t expected until 2030 or so).

The subscription model replaces the prepaid options though there are some similarities, in that consumers choose what data and services they want, and pay at the start of a usage period. But the subscription option is recurring without a contract, with a few user options such as quick activation, self-service via the Public Mobile app, and the ability to make changes without restrictions.

“Our recent research revealed that 87% of digitally savvy Canadians are looking for something ‘different’ in the mobility landscape, and 90% believed a subscription phone service would set Public Mobile apart from the competition,” said James Rooke, vice-president, mobility marketing, brands and product, Public Mobile.

“We serve a small but growing digitally savvy market, and we are able to bring this new 5G subscription phone service to Public Mobile because of the savings delivered from the digital-only and self-serve support model.”

How: There are a few different threads to this one, all around the theme of trying something new and different. “We wanted to make a ‘big splash’ impact,” said Rooke. It started with an early PR push and an informal explainer / introduction video from Jim Senko, Public’s “chief of the unexpected officer,” aka chief product officer.

Out -of-home and display ads are copy and headline heavy, using the new Public branding and muted colour palette (see right).

The campaign is anchored by a minute-long spot that opens by imagining if nothing ever changed in communications: like “you up” messages sent via morse code, for example. In reality, things kept improving—from early telephone, to fax, to text and finally the smartphone, at which point “there was nothing left to change,” says the voiceover.

But then Public’s 5G subscription options appear to blow things up, both literally and figuratively.

“We came up with a creative concept that elevated Public Mobile’s new offering by connecting it to a story-telling narrative that focuses on ‘a story of firsts’ in communications throughout time,” said Rooke.

“We wanted to create a visual that really captures who Public Mobile is at its core: a smart, witty, innovative and forward-looking brand that offers a new subscription phone service that’s as simple as any other subscription customers may have.”

And we quote:With our new 5G subscription service, we are providing consumers with a new national mobility service that offers affordable 5G phone plans, unlimited data, and a brand-new app that puts our customers in control—and we believe that our campaign brings this message to life holistically, making us stand out from our peers in the mobility space.” —James Rooke, vice-president, mobility marketing, brands and product, Public Mobile

David Brown