Cannes Lions

Data Auction

TBWA\SYDNEY, Sydney / VIRGIN / 2017

Case Film
Supporting Images
Supporting Images






In Australia, people on postpaid mobile-phone plans have unused data taken back by the big telcos at the end of every month – data they’ve paid for, but don’t get to use. Only Virgin Mobile is different, offering Data Rollover to customers, giving them a second chance to use it.

Data insights uncovered that, as plan sizes got bigger, so too was the volume of data being lost – the average customer had 80% of their plan unused, that’s 6.3GB of data lost EVERY MONTH.

So we created the Virgin Mobile Data Auction: the world-first auction where people’s unused data was accepted as currency to bid for big-ticket items and experiences. Running exclusively on Facebook, 30 lots were auctioned off over 30 days. Like any auction, the highest bid always won, so with every lot auctioned off we were turning the biggest data losers with other telcos into the biggest winners with Virgin Mobile.


For this campaign, data was the creative idea. Our Data Auction specifically targeted other telco companies’ customers on monthly contract plans, the people having their unused data stolen every month.

As with any auction the highest bid always won, so with every lot auctioned off we were turning the biggest data losers with the other telco companies into the biggest winners with Virgin Mobile.

By running the auction on the Virgin Mobile Facebook page, bidding was simple, instant and public – all people had to do was comment on our daily auction post with proof of their unused data. This way, we drew their attention to exactly how much data they were personally losing at the end of each month. It also meant that we were able to send a personalised, contextual message to every bidder about the benefits of Virgin Mobile’s Data Rollover service at the same time.

The Data Auction launched and ran exclusively on Facebook from 15 April to 15 May 2016. It was supported by daily Instagram posts and Tweets from Virgin Mobile’s other social channels, which drove traffic to the Virgin Mobile page where bidding took place.

One item was auctioned off live every day for 30 days, with bidding open between 7pm and 8pm AEST.

Bespoke video posts featuring the day’s ‘lot’ appeared in News Feeds just hours before the bidding time to drive interest and engagement once the auction started. The final lot auctioned off was a week on your own private island in Fiji, in homage to one Sir Richard Branson. And the winning bid? A massive 22.1GB of unused data from a lucky Vodafone customer.


The Virgin Mobile Data Auction was a hit, with the average winning bid being 6.1GB. This showcased that Aussies were wasting mountains of GBs each month. Every daily auction drew our audience’s attention to just how much data is stolen by the other telco companies every month. News, entertainment and tech media outlets all covered the auction, giving us earned media to a much wider audience. Just as importantly, every news story and article also spread awareness of the issue of data theft by Australia’s big telco companies and Virgin Mobile’s point of difference with Data Rollover.  

· 258% increase in traffic to Virgin Mobile Facebook page

· 160% increase in engagement with Virgin Mobile content

· 1,624,418 impressions

· 483,345 total video views

· +7% increase in brand consideration (top 2 box) among Vodafone customers (key target)

Similar Campaigns

12 items


CODE D'AZUR, Amsterdam


2018, KLM

(opens in a new tab)