Mobile company uses popular antlers to butt heads with competitors

06-12-2006

A Christmas advertisement for Vodafone has become one of the most popular ads on Czech television in a long time. It stars one of the country's leading comics - and Chihuahuas wearing fake antlers. Evidently capitalising on the fact the ad is such a hit, Vodafone has, guerrilla style, placed antlers on the outdoor advertisements of rival mobile operators.

We could have prepared a "normal Christmas advert", with false snow and fake reindeers, says comic actor Petr Ctvrtnicek in the witty Vodafone ad - before being surrounded by a group of cute Chihuahuas wearing fake antlers.

The advertisement has become a huge hit, with Vodafone reporting dozens of emails a day requesting posters and fake antlers. The company says it is planning to hand out thousands of pairs to members of the public.

One newspaper even reported that the tank top worn by Petr Ctvrtnicek in the ad is also in demand. A parody featuring Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek in the same sleeveless sweater saying they had decided not to prepare a "normal government" has proven popular on the Czech internet. Indeed, the prime minister himself says he enjoyed the joke.

In an apparent move to take advantage of the ad's popularity, Vodafone has taken the unusual step of going out on to the streets of Prague and sticking large antlers on billboards and glass-covered street ads rented by rival mobile operators. Vodafone says it plans to undertake similar "guerilla" marketing around the country.

The company which leases the advertising space immediately removed the antlers which went up on Tuesday, saying they might sue for the cost of taking them down. The other mobile operators are so far taking a wait-and-see approach to the issue.

06-12-2006