Marketing: You’re doing it right

Vodafone is the first commercial organisation in Malta to break the taboo by firmly stating which camp they belong to (the one advocating tolerance, if you really need it specified).




PS – Maybe I should clarify that I’m not employed by Vodafone and they’re not paying my phone bill either. I just really believe that any endeavour that points towards a more inclusive society is one to be lauded, even if the endeavour is greasing the wheels of commerce.



  1. Gail (Stuart Murdoch's potential wifey) says:

    I’ve seen it in Marsa (I think?!) Brilliant initiative! *applauds*

  2. Joshua says:

    I’m sure Vodafone’s marketing & agency did their math before deploying such creatives: how much customers will they win vs how many they will alienate. I can’t imagine such brands taking this type of risk without doing their homework and proper due diligence. The representation of modern families appeals to the values of a much wider audience than we sometimes acknowledge. Especially younger more open-minded audiences; which I assume Vodafone is trying to target with this campaign.

    As commendable as it is, progressiveness for commercial gains makes a high-reward marketing tactic (even though with inherent risks associated), but I doubt it does anything to change the collective attitude. Will be interesting to see whether there will be any social backwash.

  3. Karl Fiorini says:

    Although I think this is a good step in breaking away from fear and homophobia ingrained in the insular Maltese society, this is a blatant publicity stunt and a means to ride on the wave regarding the sensitive issues concerning gay rights in Malta to make the company’s income more lucrative.

    • Of course there is always the commercial consideration Karl – they’re not a charitable institution. However, the choice to stick their necks out in favour of the cause remains commendable. Other companies in Ireland and the UK who took similar steps in their campaign faced boycotts. It’s safe to say that the likelihood of backlash is stronger in Malta. Marketing is motivated by sales – but if while achieving this, a company also manages to raise awareness about social issues then it’s getting no complaints from my end.

      • Goru says:

        If not ONLY for a COMMERCIAL tactic, why did they chose two females and not two males… don’t know..still thinkning, or at least another billboard with 2 males..

  4. MarkBiwwa says:

    Bollocks. If they wanted to advocate equality there’d be two guys on there, not two attractive girls.

    • It’s called advertising and it’s a criticism that applies across the board, really. I find it a bit naive to expect a company to ditch the sex appeal. Or to use the “but they want to make money from it” card. Of course they do, they’re a commercial concern. Ghall-kurzita – so if it’s 2 guys it’s more legit. How about if it’s 2 attractive guys? Still legit?

      • Joshua says:

        Not to add any more wood to the fire, but I think Mark has a point (btw, Mark, love you blog as well).

        I think we need to seperate the social from the commercial. Legitimising a campaign like this by saying that a brand is sticking its neck out in favour of a cause is a bit naive. They have identified a target audience, and they have crafted a message that they believe appeals to them. Ramona’s comment “Marketing is motivated by sales – but if while achieving this, a company also manages to raise awareness about social issues then it’s getting no complaints from my end” is a perfect example. In your view, the brand’s profile has gained a few points. Hopefully this also transltes into sales …

        • More wood… Identifying a target audience means placing an ad in a niche medium, not plastering it on billboards across the island. A billboard on the main road has no niche market. So yes, there is a considerable element of risk to the choice.
          From my point of view it’s irrelevant whether the move translates into sales or not. What I do hope is that it helps “standardise” (for lack of a better word) same-sex relationships within the community. Why do we need to separate the social from the commercial? On the contrary, if the latter supports the former, it is fantastic.

      • MarkBiwwa says:

        Sure still legit. Get two smoking hot guys to pose in exactly the same way as the ladies above and we’ll see then.

    • safety pin says:

      I too was pleasurably surprised by this ad, and although, like Mark, first thought “yeah, well they had to choose two skinny pretty girls for it”, reminded myself that this is a marketing campaign at the end of the day, and so yes, the prettier (and most easily digestible by a homophobic audience) option has to be chosen. I have yet to see an effective marketing campaign with average looking men/women. Even Dove adverts which romp on about “real” beauty and make a big hoo-ha about different shapes and sizes feature pretty and flat stomached women. (pic attached)×308/dove-models-real-beauty.jpg

      And yeah, Ramona is right, a backlash might occur and it might go wrong as it did many times, for Benetton.

  5. Whatever reason this is being used for it’s great because equality starts with visibility –

  6. If they are lesbians why are they wearing the tops universally known as “wife-beaters”?

  7. cookie says:

    Just a week ago, in the US they were threatening to boycott Kraft because Oreo did something similar.

    so personally I think it is commendable. Visibility matters.

  8. Mario says:

    how about seeing two guys embracing each other this time round….

  9. Justin says:

    I hate the word tolerance. It creates a barrier between us (the right) and them (the wrong but whom we tolerate).

    nonetheless a great advert.

  10. Kenneth Cassar says:

    How about a white Muslim guy kissing a black Christian guy? 😉

  11. Melisande Aquilina says:

    Well done Vodafone! Personally I don’t care if it’s two attractive girls/guys/grandmas/whatever. It’s the sentiment that counts. Also, it IS a commercial venture, so ofc they are gonna use a certain degree of visual manipulation, but still, it is pretty innovative of them especially in such a homophobic country as Malta has proved itself to be (not saying that other countries are all roses and peaches here, just stating a fact).

  12. KatZ says:

    The adds like this are nowhere to be seen in the rest of Europe. I’ve been in many countries and cities and the standard commercial is still focusing on the heterosexual relationships. Good job, Vodafone! Finally someone who’s not ignoring a big customer group.
    It’s not like the HBTQ people will disappear if you will pretend they aren’t there….