Orange – Creation and launch
In 1994 Orange launched into an already crowded UK marketplace. We needed to differentiate ourselves from the other three players in order to succeed. Before the launch, a team of people from Orange (then called Hutchison Microtel), corporate identity specialists Wolff Olins, and advertising agency WCRS set about creating the brand. The vision was to be the most personal telecommunications company in the world, and to be honest and open in dealing with customers and employees alike.
The brand had to be something that people would engage with on an emotional level as well as delivering tangible benefits to them. The team refined the core brand idea from four options – the manager, the innovator, it’s my life, and it’s my friend. The result was ‘it’s my phone’ which combined the best elements from the four. Names were brainstormed and the shortlist included Pecan, Gemini, Egg, Miro, and, of course Orange. “Orange” was the name that best represented the team’s ideas, with its connotations of fun, optimism, liveliness and freedom.
Market research found that people thought the name was distinctive and friendly, extrovert, modern and powerful. The name Orange was then registered as a trademark. With a name secured, logo development began. An orange square with ‘orange’ simply written in lowercase white lettering was the concept that shone through. Simple and distinctive, it helped remove associations with the fruit and supported the aims of being straightforward and honest By January 1994 advertising had been developed and the full corporate identity for Orange was finalised soon afterwards.
After extensive customer research into people’s likes and dislikes of their current providers, Orange defined its values that helped shape the personality of the brand. These are honest, straightforward, friendly, refreshing and dynamic. WCRS created the award winning launch advertising campaign and our brand line ‘the future’s bright, the future’s Orange’ was born. The campaign deliberately avoided images of mobile phones to show that Orange was about communication and customer benefits, a more personal approach. On 28 March 1994, Hutchison Microtel’s name was officially changed to Orange.
At the end of April a teaser campaign was launched in London, posters with the simple words ‘Laugh’, ‘Cry’, ‘Talk’ and ‘Listen’ kept people guessing about who and what Orange was. This was quickly followed up by the main launch campaign to introduce Orange fully. The Orange brand broke the mould of the existing mobile companies. Orange challenged the conventions of the industry, made things simpler to understand whilst also creating new standards of service and services, such as Per Second Billing, allowing customers to pay for exactly the airtime used to the nearest second. Prior to this mobile companies had charged by the minute.