We Heard That! Wind Mobile

Toronto-based Youthography taps its online community of youth and young adults to provide strategy with an analysis of Wind Mobile

Welcome! This is the first of a series of monthly mini-reports ‘from the front’ of the media and communications battle for the hearts, minds and wallets of Canada’s younger citizen-consumers brought to us by our friends at Youthography. On a monthly basis Youthography will prompt its online community of youth and young adults to hit us back with opinion on products, campaigns and policies aimed squarely at their demographic.

For this inaugural installment we take a look at Wind Mobile.

For anyone living in the GTA, the launch of WIND Mobile, to compete with the big three cellular carriers, was no secret affair. WIND Mobile advertising has been featured all over the Greater Toronto Area for the last few months, promising simplicity and value to young people. ‘Hello, Canada-wide calling. Goodbye, Canada-wide gouging. Why WIND? Because unlike your ex, we really listen,’ says WIND to their potential customers, in an often quirky and intentionally youth-focused lingo.

WIND challenges the likes of Rogers, Bell and TELUS with some tempting offers, such as contract free services, no monthly services charges, and free calling between WIND customers; in a nutshell WIND hopes to eliminate customer frustration with hidden fees and service charges, which often leads to the dreaded why is my bill so f****** big moment.

Now that the dust has settled from the WIND Mobile launch in Canada, the inevitable questions come to the fore, is WIND’s message reaching young people? And, sure WIND can talk the talk, but are they walking the walk in the mind of young citizen consumers?

It looks like control is the name of the game for WIND. Young people from Youthography’s national online forum, The Community, are noticing the control that WIND is offering them with their mobile services. The ability to be contract-free and to dump irrelevant services charges is leading this impression. These offerings are giving young people the feeling of having more ownership and command over their cell services, consequently leading to more command over their finances. As is consistently the case in any industry where perceptions of oligopoly are redolent, the ‘big three’ have become infamous with many young Canadian wireless users for leaving customers feeling powerless and dependent, a sentiment that the youth demographic is known to be less than comfortable with. Control allows for a level of engagement that young people are becoming accustomed to, and which all well reputed contemporary brands are making the new standard.

‘The idea to make a HOME based cellular system is genius, the rates and plans are amazing, there are no contracts, it’s really a big blow to the cellular monopoly of Rogers and Bell. Considering how much I hate the current Telecom monopolies and their squeeze on the every-day consumer, I thought WIND Mobile could be the answer to my Mobile problems.’ -male,16, Brampton,ON

In fact, WIND’s whole marketing campaign has been about giving control back to their clients, something which is also very well received by Youthography’s Community. Not only do their actual services allow control, but the company philosophy aims to do the same thing by encouraging consumer input, feedback and criticism right there on their site – or featured in their ads for that matter.

‘They’re aiming at the consumers that feel that they have been ripped off by their own company. Most consumers ages 20-35 want to change the world and feel that this company is listening to their ideas and suggestions.’ -female, 23, Toronto, ON

However, the youth-y and engaging advertising by WIND can only take the consumer so far. In the end young people have practical needs and demands which take priority. Many of our Community members were quick to find a catch in the WIND Mobile ‘cellular revolution’, of those device selection and transferability are a major concern. The choice of only four devices by WIND seems very limited to young people, who have become accustomed to abundant selection and ease of disposing one device and hitching into another by simply moving their SIM card slot to slot. Unfortunately WIND does not offer this flexibility or selection.

‘Although WIND Mobile has amazing plans, with no contracts, there are two MAJOR drawbacks: a) They operate on the 1700 Mhz Mobile Frequency, and b) You can basically only use their phones. This completely ruined my views of Mobile.’ -male,16, Brampton, ON

‘The only thing that I found to be a negative was the fact that you could only use their phones. iPhones won’t work on the WIND network, which is somewhat disappointing.’ -female, 25 Brampton, ON

Another major drawback for WIND was its limited coverage which only includes ‘home zones’. Currently Toronto & Calgary are its only major services areas which obviously limits the appeal of their cheap services to a partial population. Community members showed concern with this.

‘WIND offers limited coverage and it’s was only worthwhile if you live and make the majority of your calls from the ‘home’ zones.’ -female, 21, Ancaster, ON

In the end, it’s clear that WIND has a ways to go in the minds of young people. There are clear limitations and drawbacks to their services, which, unfortunately, their catchy advertising cannot make up for. As WIND grows and expands its reach, there is certainly potential for development, since it’s very clear that young people are dying to have more options when it comes to the wireless landscape. Not only do youth crave alternatives, but they acknowledge that as more companies join the game, the more competitive each offering will have to be.

‘What WIND Mobile has done is become in some sense a saviour to the Canadian cellular market by starting a trend which will hopefully bring more newcomers as well, which will cause prices to fall and selection increase.’ -male, 29, Brampton, ON

Kanan Kothari (Manager, Research & Strategy) and Michael Adams (Manager, Research & Strategy) – Youthography

Youthography is North America’s leading full-service youth insights and planning firm.
Any enquiries, suggestions or irate missives can be directed to mike@youthography.com.
Youthography is blogging at WELOVETHAT