T-Mobile tells Carly to toughen up in new ad campaign launching April 17

April 16, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka



Can edgier advertising help turnaround T-Mobile’s descent? Since 2010, T-Mobile’s primary advertising method has been to trot out Carly Foulkes, the company’s adorable spokesmodel, to riff on the I’m A Mac ads and show why it’s the best value for consumers. However, those consumers haven’t gotten the message and T-Mobile has continued to decline. The time to shake things up has arrived.

T-Mobile is changing course from sweet and funny to be more in your face about the network. Carly will ditch her cute magenta dress and opt for black leather and with magenta trim, and a motorcycle with a similar palette. The plan is to make Carly, the human representative of T-Mobile, an example of T-Mobile’s network prowess and ability to take on the big boys in AT&T and Verizon.

“It brings out our challenger spirit,” Peter DeLuca, SVP of advertising at T-Mobile told Marketing Daily. “We always knew we had a competitive edge, and this is meant to express that.”

T-Mobile has spent the past two years building Carly up as a nice girl, and previous attempts to make her more “hip” were awkward (view that fast-rapping Sidekick commercial for reference). There’s a chance that we could be heading for a good-girl-gone-bad moment ala Olivia Newton John in Grease, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. Olivia had to make a drastic change to grab John Travolta’s attention, so perhaps T-Mobile needs to do the same to inject itself back into the conversation as a real player in the carrier wars.

“Clearly 2012, is a rebuilding year. There might have been some confusion among consumers as to what we stood for. And this gives the other side to T-Mobile, which is delivering on our network…We need to shore up the fact that we’re a nationwide 4G. It’s time to set the record straight. We really want people to know T-Mobile is here.”

We’ll know soon enough because the advertisements begin running on television and YouTube tomorrow. No word yet if T-Mobile will give Valeska, the Spanish-language version of Carly, a similar makeover.

image credit: ATD, via TMONews