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Adwar between Bills and phonecompanies

The two Swedish telco's 3 and Tele2.Comviq are involved in an adwar. It started with Tele2.Comviqs "We got small bills/Bills" where the concept is that a bill is "Bill", either a big and mean man or small and friendly guy. The pioneering company in 3G, "3" was a little annoyed and did their own campaign: "Little Bill has lied again" and used another little person actor to portray little Bill, this time he spends the entire ad writing on the blackboard "50 öre does not mean 0 krona" a thousand times like Bart in the Simpsons. Tele2.Comviq's claim in the latest little Bill ad is that you can make calls for 0 krona a minute - alas, the small print states that each minute costs 50 öre in startup costs. I find it really amusing. It is like a homage to the Avis vs Hertz campaign - a war that created some of the best ads ever made.

Headline: "Little Bill has lied again" a few examples from the beginning of the "little Bill" campaign:

Tele2 - Bill Sucks - (2003) 0:30 (Sweden)

Tele2 - Bill Mailslot - (2003) 0:30 (Sweden)

Tele2 - Bill Mailbox - (2003) 0:30 (Sweden)

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Dabitch's picture

I find it terribly amusing, I'm one of the few people who really don't like the Bill ads so I'm glad to see it used against them in a clever fashion like this. ;) No worries, I find the 3 ads even worse so I'm glad to see their campaign raising the bar a little. Is this a first for Sweden? I can't think of any Pepsi vs Coke Hertz vs Avis style fights where they use each others gimmicks to fight each other before... It made me smile anyway. Wonder how Tele2Comviq will respond? Suddenly these campaigns are funny!

Dabitch's picture

Tele2.Comviq has filed a suit against 3 for these ads with little Bill in them. The reason: 3 uses the word lied in the ads, and tele2.Comviq insists their smallprint has always been straightforward about the starting fee of 50

deeped's picture

That's the second suit 3 is getting from the sphere of MTG, who owns both Tele2.comviq and TV3 and the first suit is about brand infringement on the latter...

It's sad seeing that there are too many economists even in the marketingbiz who rather slap eachother with lawsuits instead of fighting in the creative arena.

Hidden Persuader's picture

Hmm .. hehe this sounds interesting have to write on this to the portuguese readers 'cause at the moment Tele 2 is sweeping the other players on the domestic wire-line market. Tele 2 just got into the portuguese market last year but its ads/positioning on lows bills and how easy it is to switch to Tele 2 is paying off (don't forget we're talking about a south european country where everything looks like bureaucracy and assle) !!

Dabitch's picture

Now it's getting Monthy Pythonesque. RBU,
The Swedish National Association for Disabled Children and Young People
has written complaints to 3 stating that their advertising contributes in giving a one-sided image of small people. "In the middle ages they would be the Kings joker, today we meet them as clowns at the circus." writes Agntetha Mbuyamba from RBU. "Our members have reacted strongly to the image of bill the dunce-cap. The picture is insulting and makes the unfortunate connection that small people are unreliable sinners." Agntetha wonders at the end of her letter how 3 reasoned before they used this image to spread their message.

3 has written back to RBU and apologised if they insulted anyone, which wasn't their intention.

Dagens Media asked Agntetha from RBU if they weren't going to complain to Tele2 as well, who after all, stick little Bill in a mailbox. Agntetha responded that no RBU members had complained about those ads since little Bill is depicted as a strong and nice person, unlike the dunce-cap wearing Bill in 3's ads.Dunce cap ad image available at Researcher.se

deeped's picture

So... swedish... *sigh*