Thursday, July 25, 2013

Optus goes Olympic.

At 19 I arrived at the country. I used the public phone to call home.
(With the calling cards. Remember that you gen-y piece of shit?)

Then I tried to sign up for a plan. Telstra looked too cold and expensive.
Vodafone and 3 were still setting up shop, didn't really trust the Dodo bird, so I opted for Optus. (They have more animals, they must be better.)

Then I got stung by unexpected fees.
Sometimes the bills cost more than my Siemens phone.
I got out of the contract as soon as possible. (2 years.)

This is when I fooled around with other brands like Vodafone (because it's foreign it must be better) or 3 (if they can give out free video chat they must be awesome). But slowly I realised it really didn't matter because they all sucked.

When I found out pre-paid is actually the way to go, I was already in the workforce, 5 years later.

That's when I realised normal white suburban Aussie 'mates' use Telstra and they use all that BigPond crap, even when they know it's just a internet device that deadlocks your content with ads. Let me simply put, if you don't care about money, you use Telstra.

And that was roughly the time when Optus started using real animals in their ads, missing the point of having the animals to disconnect consumers from real life situations in the first place. (The marketing board directors shouting: Business is down? It must be the animals. No don't kill them, make them play soccer!)

Vodafone was my choice because I could cap my spending at $29 a month with $300 credit and rubbish 3G connection. ($26 if you recharge from Safeway.) Meanwhile 3 was going 'psssssss' like a deflating balloon. Virgin was like 'I'm just here because my dad wants me to be here'.

So fast forward to 2012 there's a huge restructuring as they called it, no more discounted prepaid plans. I graduated to Telstra, still prepaid, still cared about money, but happy to not have to care about signal losses and what not.

And the funny thing is that Telstra rebranded as a more upbeat, colourful brand. 3 was no more. Not sure of the difference between Vodafone and Virgin since they're both red. Optus was still trapped between animals and a very fast but somehow tangible 4G yellow cube you can hold in your palm but kinda blew your face away.

Until this year.

Sorry for the absolute bollocks of a lead up. I initially planned to just share a YouTube video, but  I guess it's good to provide a bit of context.

I'm sure by now you've seen the big Optus rebrand that has all designers walking around in a wet dream coma state:

You can see the complete suite here.

My feeling is that I can't feel any prouder, to be a Telstra customer.

No seriously, it's actually a compliment to Optus. If I'm still 19 as a university student, or even 23 working as a junior, I'd love this new character to give Telstra the finger. To make me feel all cute, and relevant and cool. Truth is I'm a cynical Asian running a business now. I am not their target market.

They've done a great job polarising the market, and the plan is obvious. Why fight the blue Telstra when you can destroy the red double Vs first? And the timing can't be better, because they've got this case study that the public really likes cute stuff (cue Dumbways to Die). As much as my dreaded cynicism is yelling 'It's telco, no one gives a shit as long as it's cheap and reliable', I really hope it works.

p.s. Yesterday I was watching daytime TV. And they're doing this infomercial with the logo bang smacked at the bottom left hand corner. I guess amidst the big rebranding mock up they didn't think about how the logo or typeface would look with a lot of crappy text on TV.

It actually looks a lot like ... a Dodo ad.