Vodafone Italia announced a new marketing initiative aimed at promoting its Shake mobile plans, launched in June 2016 for users under the age of 30. Part of Vodafone’s sponsorship of the Italian TV show “Amici,” the Shakethon competition offers two prizes consisting of artistic training programs and worth up to €35,000 (US $37,127) each. One of the prizes will be awarded to a participant in the “Amici” talent show, while the other will be decided by a drawing among eligible Vodafone customers who participate to the competition via the My Vodafone app between 14 January and 1 April.
Vodafone’s Shake plan, aimed at the youth market and launched this past summer, offers 300 calling minutes, 100 SMS and 3 GB of 4G/LTE data for €12.00 (US $12.73) every four weeks. The budget offering, available only to those under 30, contains a somewhat gimmicky feature—by shaking his or her smartphone, the user automatically tops up by 100 minutes, 100 SMS or 500 MB, for a cost of €1.00 (US $1.06), so as to avoid ever running out of allowances.
We can surmise that now, over half a year after launch, the novelty of the Shake offering may be wearing off, and it would be to Vodafone’s advantage to promote it anew. A contest tied to a TV show followed by the youth demographic could be an effective way of doing this. In order for the prizes to be given out, according to the contest rules, the community of Shake users collectively must reach a usage threshold of 500,000 GB; this stipulation would have the dual effect of boosting consumption and fostering a sense of community among subscribers. This approach demonstrates that Vodafone has correctly understood the youth demographic, for which social behavior and the sense of group cohesion are very important. As we have pointed out, the youth market is extremely important for mobile operators and worth cultivating aggressively, for several reasons. For one, youth is a period in which brand loyalty is established, and so getting subscribers on board early, even though they may have little money to spend, pays dividends in the long term. Second, despite their limited budgets, youths are heavy and sophisticated users of data and of technology in general and basically live through their mobile devices. And third, the youth demographic worldwide is growing very rapidly. So any and all efforts that mobile operators such as Vodafone make to capture and cultivate the under-30 market is effort well spent, in our view.