Reality Marketing: Vodafone’s #4GRedline High-Stakes Stunt Pays Off

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Vodafone has pulled off one of its most innovative marketing activations yet with a high-octane stunt featuring Kiwi drift car sensation “Mad” Mike Whiddett and the company’s own Director of 4G Network, Tony Baird.

“Mad” Mike successfully completed the drift course with his windows completely blacked out, his only vision coming through four tablets fixed to the inside of his windshield.

red mike

A live video call across the Vodafone 4G network delivered “Mad” Mike’s only view of the outside world, beaming in from four smartphones attached to the roof of his drift car.

“Mad” Mike said the #4GRedline stunt was the most extreme and challenging of his career: “It was a little risky that’s for sure, and this was without a doubt the biggest challenge I’ve ever had behind the wheel.”

“The whole experience was amazing and like being in a different world because switching quickly between those screens actually made me feel a little bit carsick for the first time in my life,” he said.

Vodafone Head of Brand and Insights Lou Kuegler said the 4G Redline experiment set out to demonstrate the reliability of the Vodafone 4G network in an innovative, dramatic and authentic way.

“This is what modern marketing is all about – it’s one thing to say we have a reliable network, it’s another to demonstrate it, and that’s what we set out to do,” said Kuegler.

The 4G Redline idea has been under discussion with the company’s creative agency, FCB New Zealand, since December 2014, and was given the green light early this year to demonstrate the power of the Vodafone network.

“The 4G Redline idea is a dream fit for Vodafone’s innovation strategy,” said Kuegler. “The actual shoot was a high-stakes game because unless “Mad” Mike actually nailed this stunt, we didn’t have a story.”

“A blown tire, a broken clutch and a broken axle certainly raised the stakes – but it worked – and the 4G network delivered the vision “Mad” Mike needed to maneuver the car around the course with confidence,” said Kuegler.

FCB Asia Pacific Executive Creative Director James Mok said the agency wanted to show the reliability of Vodafone’s 4G network in an interesting way, as the concept of a mobile network is sometimes not easily tangible for the public.

“This was an incredible collaborative effort by the Vodafone marketing, network and device teams, Curious Films, “Mad” Mike and his team, and FCB,” said Mok.


Client: Vodafone
Consumer Director: Matt Williams
Head of Brand and Insights: Lou Kuegler
Manager Brand and Communications: Nileema Allerston
Brand and Communications Specialist: Michelle Lumsden
Head of PR: Andrea Brady
External Comms Manager: Elissa Downey

Creative Agency: FCB New Zealand
Regional Executive Creative Director: James Mok
Managing Director: Fleur Head
Senior Art Directors: Freddie Coltart and Leisa Wall
Senior Copywriters: Matt Williams and Peter Vegas
Creative Services Director: Jenni Doubleday
Senior Designer: Nick McFarlane
Senior Finished Artist: Anton Mason
Head of Content: Pip Mayne
Senior Content Producer: Sonali de Silva
Group Account Director: Karla Fisher
Account Director: Dave Munn
Senior Account Manager: Annabelle Reynolds
GM – Business Innovation & Strategy: Murray Streets
Senior Strategist: Hilary Dobson
Lead Editor: Andy Deere
Assistant Editor: Blair Walker
Editor ‘Behind The Scenes’: Corban Koschak
Photography / ‘Behind The Scenes’: Michael Braid
Head of PR / Activation / Social: Angela Spain
PR Senior Account Director: Joanna James
Brand Engagement Director: Ele Quigan
Social Media Campaign Manager: Lena Aziz

Media Agency: Y&R Media
Group Business Director: Kelly Badland
Senior Digital Planner: Lisa Clapperton
Production Company: Curious Films
Production Company Exec Producer: Matt Noonan
Production Company Director: Daniel Max
Production Company Shoot Producer: Briar Pacey
DOP: Andy Deere
Stunt Coordinator: Stu Thorp
Safety: Willy Heatley

Lead Colorist: Peter Richie
Colorist ‘Behind The Scenes’: Blair Walker

Sound Studio: The Coopers
Studio Producer: Penny Cooper
Sound Engineer: Jon Cooper