Jonny Gladwell: quick work or a sneaky plant?
Jonny Gladwell is the photogenic media-friendly face of the new 3G Apple iPhone. He’s a lovely young 22-year-old, blonde-haired and smiling genially. What better face for the first person in the world to score the much-hyped new phone?
So it all seems a little too convenient that Yellow Pages online helped him through his three-day, three-night wait and then set up this website, all in a matter of days, to celebrate the businesses (all available through Yellow Pages, of course) that obliged his stay outside the Auckland Vodafone store.
Even more interesting is that the brains behind the Yellow Pages website is digital agency Aim Proximity, sister agency to Colenso BBDO, which holds both Vodafone and Yellow Pages as clients.
I called Matt Pickering, the Aim suit for the Yellow Pages online campaign, to ask how long the promo had been in the works. He said it’s been just four days. Now Aim Proximity is a savvy agency and they do know how to pull things together quickly. Their nifty Grabaplane promotion was done in just three weeks (see today’s print edition). But this all seems a little too good to be true.
Perhaps I see advertising campaigns as taking a lot more time and effort than they actually are, and call me a cynic, but I reckon the whole Yellow Pages campaign was in the works long before old Jonny Gladrags rocked up to the store on Monday. Possibly he may have been hand-picked for the job.
It may or may not surprise you to discover that Jonny Gladwell is a friend of an Aim Proximity staffer.
Now young Jonny’s a 22-year-old university student. How can a university student – who’s by rights meant to survive on two-minute noodles to prove his usefulness to society – afford the hefty charges that come with the iPhone? Well, apparently his mates dared him to queue for three nights and if he made the cut, they’d pay for it.
He’s not even an Apple fan and said if they weren’t paying for it, he probably wouldn’t even buy one. Not much motivation there – especially when it comes to spending nights on the street in this freezing weather.
Someone call Scooby and Shaggy – this is a case for the Mystery Machine.
Mr Pickering said the idea behind the Yellow Pages assistance was to highlight that you can survive on the streets of Auckland on nothing but Yellow Pages online, on your phone or your laptop. Cool idea.
And let’s face it, Apple/Vodafone would be silly not to try to exert some control over the media coverage surrounding the launch of such a big release – and putting a plant such as the photogenic and media-happy Jonny Gladwell in there would be the perfect way to do it.
But Aim Proximity muffins are adamant it wasn’t in the works before Jonny set up outside the Auckland store on Monday.
The end conclusion? If it’s a setup, Aim/Colenso should just come clean and take credit for a well put-together campaign. If it’s not, they should be congratulated for some seriously quick work.