Since her debut in 2010, we’ve gotten to know T-Mobile’s spokeswoman Carly Foulkes as the effervescent, pink-wearing promoter of T-Mobile goodness. For the latest ads, T-Mobile has turned her into a biker chick, doing away with the floaty dresses and putting her in a leather outfit and helmet.
T-Mobile’s SVP of brand, advertising, and comms tells Mashable that the ad is meant to convey the company’s status as a “challenger brand.”
“The makeover from the girl-next-door to an edgier, more tech-savvy and spirited Carly is synonymous with the evolution of the T-Mobile brand,” he says.
Jezebel, who isn’t a fan of the Foulkes to begin with, isn’t buying it.
“The makeover feels like a desperate stab in the dark—I’m not sure how making your spokeslady more motorcycley is supposed to sell phones,” the site says.
It’s not the best ad we’ve ever seen. She actually reminds us of Danica Patrick in the GoDaddy ads, which is definitely not a good look.
But once you have a recognizable spokesperson that’s become ingrained in the customer’s mind, it doesn’t hurt to play around with it if you can. For instance, we wouldn’t advise doing too much with Progressive’s Flo. The hair, the lips, the white outfit, the slight awkwardness — it’s all a package. But since the most distinguishing thing about Foulkes are her pink outfits, you can get away with a little more.
T-Mobile execs say the company is undergoing a brand refresh, with the media noting that the marketing is tied to a business imperative — stop the flow of customers to other carriers — in the wake of T-Mobile’s failed attempt to be bought by AT&T. Moreover, the company still isn’t selling the iPhone. However, the ads will be a highlight of an event taking place this week to introduce a new phone, the HTC One S.
Besides the increased ad spend, T-Mobile is also planning a website that will allow visitors to compare the speed of its devices versus the competition.