Stay restless - Mobile Vikings | Effie case 2018

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Mobile Vikings - Stay restless

Stay restless

Bronze Effie
Mobile Vikings - mortierbrigade

Mobile Vikings - Stay restless

Stay restless

Bronze Effie
Mobile Vikings - mortierbrigade


From its start in 2009, challenger brand Mobile Vikings has been positioned as a rebellious prepaid-only mobile player. In 2016, the pre-paid offer of Mobile Vikings was put under huge pressure by quadruple play packs that combined fixed phone, digital television, internet and mobile data in one pack. In 2016, market shares of quadruple play already reached 27%, which favoured players like Proximus, Telenet and Orange. Since quadruple play packs sell mobile subscriptions for a very competitive price, Mobile Vikings became up to 50% more expensive than Proximus and Telenet for a low data offer. Operating in a declining prepaid market, Mobile Vikings needed to act if it were to survive.

Up until 2016, Mobile Vikings was proud to claim it never paid for advertising, growing solely through member-gets-member. So how do you grow without losing your early adopters? And how can a no-advertising brand run TV campaigns without losing its brand essence? As a small challenger brand, Mobile Vikings didn't want to offer packs with TV or fixed phone, but it did have the ambition to become the challenger in a larger mobile-only segment by adapting its product offering, start offering postpaid plans and broadening its target audience beyond its early adopters.

Historically, the target audience of Mobile Vikings consisted of tech-savvy youngsters who were early adopters in all things technological. They were a niche audience who loved Mobile Vikings for its heavy mobile data offer. Mobile Vikings had to step outside its brand niche and move to a broader audience.

Our main objectives for 2017 are the acquisition of new clients and making sure 33% of all new Vikings are postpaid Vikings. To do this, the brand awareness of Mobile Vikings must increase. We also have to create a strong association between our communication and the perceived brand values so Mobile Vikings doesn't lose its brand essence of a challenger (different than the market) with a customer-centric approach (simple + customer-centric) and a fair deal (best deal in mobile data).


The strategic idea was based on a logical series of insights:

  • We're all greedy for mobile data now
    The media consumption and online behaviour of the brand's early adopters has become a generally adopted mindset. Whereas being online 24/7 was something only a few people did in 2009, this has changed: we all use our mobile phones for taking pictures, for social media, finding the fastest way to our destination, making payments etc. If you compare 2016 to 2015 alone, the mobile data consumption in our country has increased by 85%. Mobile Vikings now has the opportunity to become the favorite brand of a much larger audience without having to reposition itself. This was crucial to maintain our credibility with our early adopters.

  • We all want 'data peace of mind'
    Since mobile data has become so important, we no longer want to be offline. Our new target audience is one that needs a lot of mobile data, isn't likely to fall for a quadruple play offer and doesn't ever want to find itself without data. For Mobile Vikings, this was the time to introduce a postpaid offering. We chose the Flemish 25-34-year-olds as our target audience, singling out the 27-year-olds as our bullseye target. They no longer depend on their parents for the choice in telecom provider. They're not necessarily tech-savvy but do live on their smartphones, making them heavy users on the mobile data front. They've finished studying and are transitioning from a parental environment to independency. Since they're making money, they're more open to the ease and comfort of postpaid plans.

  • We need mobile data, the rest is obsolete
    As our target is building their own independent life, financially they focus on things that absolutely matter in their opinion. An "all-in-one" offer would force them to pay for things they don't need. They want to be online with enough data capacity, the other elements of these quadruple play packages being redundant for them.

The combination of these insights led to our strategic idea: you don't need a phone plan but a mobile data plan. Our strategic idea consists of making our broader target audience aware that they shouldn't pay for services they won't be using. Historically, phone plans were made up of calling minutes and text messages. Nowadays, if you want a lot of mobile data, most providers make you pay a lot because they force you to take a lot of (unwanted) calling minutes as well. The current phone plans of our target audience just don't fit their lifestyles. They need a mobile data plan, not a phone plan.

Throughout 2017, we focused on the acquisition of new users from a broader target audience. As the biggest driver of growth and acquisition is awareness, the strategy was to bring new people to the starting point of the funnel. In line with the findings of Binet & Field, we expect brand growth by focusing on brand-building in the long-term. This requires investing in a share of voice in excess of our market share with regular exposures throughout the year and engaging campaigns with a recognizable style and tone of voice.

The only way to achieve the ambitious total awareness objective was to step up our game and leave our online-only environment. We needed a multi-media campaign with high frequency to optimize our effective reach. We adopted an audio-visual approach with TV and cinema as main A/V channels, supported by radio, weeklies and dailies. An online approach complemented the ATL plan.


We acquired 15% more new Vikings than targeted, making 2017 the best acquisition year since 2012. 46,6% of them are postpaid Vikings, meaning 13% more than targeted. Among 25-34yo, we grew 10% in brand awareness. In total awareness, whereas all big telco players declined, Mobile Vikings (85%) even gets close to the awareness levels of BASE (89%) and Orange (88%), meaning Mobile Vikings definitely no longer is a niche brand. The campaigns managed to create a strong result on the core elements that have positioned the brand from the start.

  Value People no recall
People recall
  Customer-centric 37% 64%
  Different from market 23% 46%
  Simple 24% 41%
  Best deal in mobile data 22% 40%

These results firmly set Mobile Vikings in the market, not just as a provider of a product but as an attitude signed by the brand. In this case, every € spent has resulted in a € 4,7 revenue increase for Mobile Vikings.

Growing was not only vital for Mobile Vikings, it was also challenging for this historical no-advertising brand. But advertising showed its power, resulting in excellent business results: we broadened our target audience by turning to classic above the line media while staying true to our image - not an easy task for a restless brand with an attitude.

Mobile Vikings. Stay restless.

Mobile Vikings
Calogero Macaluso

Calogero Macaluso studied civil engineering and obtained a Master in Business Administration in 2018. In 2008, he started his career as a Young Potential at Belgacom/Proximus, where he discovered his passion for marketing in the marcoms department. He then joined Boondoggle as account director but moved to the advertiser side in 2014 to become marketing lead for the telecom business of Medialaan/De Persgroep, which acquired Mobile Vikings in 2016.

Mobile Vikings - Calogero Macaluso

Dorien Mathijssen

Dorien Mathijssen is strategic planner at mortierbrigade. She holds a Master in French and Italian Literature & Linguistics and a Master in Plurilingual Communication.

Dorien has always been fascinated by psycholinguistics and spends her time figuring out how to translate this into meaning for brands, strategy and communications.

At mortierbrigade, she does this for brands such as ING, Mobile Vikings, Canvas and Bike for Brussels.

mortierbrigade - Dorien Mathijssen