Wednesday, 16 June 2010

O2 puts a limit on the unlimited

The news has broken that O2 are going to start limiting the data on our iphones, basically meaning that we have to start watching our emails, internet use and downloading using the iphone. Up til now, all iphone packages included “unlimited” data downloads (within reason) so we have all been happily checking our mails up and down the country, using our apps to find a cash point, and sharing our score in the latest game we are addicted to. I am loving it.

With 10 hours of calls (that I have never got close to) and unlimited texts, I loved the fact that I never have to think about my phone use. In a cluttered and difficult world where you should be switching your supplier for everything from energy to savings accounts every 5 minutes to get the best tariff, it was really soothing to never have to worry about the mobile.

I think O2 are a very clever company in so many ways but limiting data is such a bad idea because it goes against the wishes of the vast majority of their customers.

Having been a customer champion for many years, genuinely working on customer service and being the first to give existing customers deals just as good as for new customers, O2 have shown themselves to be in tune with people’s needs. More recently their ad for broadband, “Niggles and narks” clearly taking on board the general moan that you can’t get any decent customer service when it comes to broadband. Ads all designed to put O2 firmly on the side of the customer.

Then Ronan Dunne, O2’s chief exec announces in his blog that data will be limited for new contracts. Apparently 97% of us won’t be affected, only 0.1% of us are using data over the new limit.

Yes I will be affected, Ronan, because I now have to think before using my iphone. It spoils my enjoyment. It's like when I'm in France and I have to switch to "no data roaming". I feel a bit bereft.

He also claims that it is for our own good. Because why should we pay for that top % using a lot more than us? News for you, Ronan, currently I am not.

This is not a decision based on customer insight.

The reason that this decision has been made as far as I understand it and with the help of a very insightful article from the Guardian is that 0.1% of people are abusing the “no limit”….and the company can’t work out how else to stop them and / or make them pay.

This is sort of thing I would expect from Talktalk. Not the customer-loving O2 brand. I beg you to reconsider. Maybe Orange has a great opportunity to jump in with a message that they won’t charge for data? I would be up for switching.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Controversial ads or just plain funny?

So the World Cup is on its way and with it, lots of memorabilia and British flags. My local pub looks like it is geared up for the Queen’s coronation and a royal wedding all in one go. Half the nation (mostly male) is going to go loopy for a few weeks, I wonder if the release of Sex and the City 2 was deliberately timed in this way? Extra seats sold as women across the nation flee?

Anyway, happy days for most people while the world’s favourite game takes centre stage. However, on the flip side, rather worryingly, there are already stories circulating however that some people in public situations are being told not to fly the English flag and not to be too overt in their national pride. Most of these stories are unsubstantiated for the moment so I shall reserve any further comment; I just hope that people are going to be allowed to celebrate (or commiserate) in a normal way without being worried about who they might upset.

It was with this thought that I was relieved to hear that the ASA still have some sensible people working there – not taken over by such a level of political correctness that creativity is stifled. I like to think they have a sense of humour too and some of their recent decisions reflect this.

You see I really chuckled when I saw that ad for Homepride ovencleaner that claimed “even a man can do it”.

OK, so I am a woman and some men may feel differently but isn’t it just tongue in cheek? Can’t people see that? Well thankfully the ASA think so, despite being the 2nd most complained about advert in 2009, ASA did not hold up the complaint.

More recently a Burger King advert was also complained about by 52 people. The internet audio ad featured a conversation that began: "Oh officer don't give us a ticket, I was just getting some king lunch," with the officer replying: "I can see that and it looks king good."

Again the ASA did not uphold it. Come on – it’s a clever play on words, you take it how you want to.

So good on them for not stifling all last remnants of creativity as we standardise and legislate in every area, and good on them for letting brands have a go at some more interesting advertising so long as they stay true to the product's attributes and the reality of using them.