Cannes Lions



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In 2014, Vodafone was facing its toughest business and communication challenge to date. Deutsche Telekom had acquired two of the most important players on the telecom market (price challenger Cosmote and traditional broadband Romtelecom), thus becoming the most powerful group in the category. Unsurprisingly, Telekom created the biggest brand launch ever seen on the Romanian market.

How do you distract people from the ‘new kid on the block”? And how do you beat the loud voice of the German brand that comes with a strong heritage of technology? The short answer is meaning. Stretched to a small share of voice, Vodafone needed to find a meaningful way to reinforce its connection with Romanians and keep increasing the penetration of 4G smartphones. The key to strengthening the relationship with Romanians was to reset the agenda in the category: from a generic battle of network claims to a newsworthy social conversation, that could demonstrate the relevance and life-changing power of Vodafone’s technology in the life of every Romanian.

We were aiming at stirring a social debate around the power of our technology, so we turned our attention to the least likely users of technology – the elderly – only to uncover a very serious social problem: 40% of Romania’s elderly were living alone.

Our Idea: Sunday Grannies – we launched a social experiment to fight loneliness among the millions of old people in Romania who lived in solitude and demonstrate that technology can help anyone improve his life.

We put Facebook in the hands of two lonely grannies who loved to cook, but had nobody to share their meals with, and connected them with students who missed their home-cooked traditional Sunday goodies. The Grannies posted their menus on Facebook and students could book a seat at their table. We made a documentary showing how their lives were changing and aired it on TV. Soon their apartment became the hottest lunch place in town. Even celebrities like no.3 WTA tennis player Simona Halep or a MasterChef judge booked a seat. Grannies recipes became so famous they got their own cooking show and had their famous Lemon pie make it to the stores. Following hundreds of messages congratulating the initiative, we launched a Facebook app where any granny can organize her own pop-up lunch. Grannies across the country joined in and their lonely homes became joyful again.

The Sunday Grannies achieved over 380MM media impressions, for a 98,7% reach. Over 430,000 fans joined their Facebook page, while the Facebook rate of adoption for seniors more than doubled during our campaign.

Vodafone managed to impressively accelerate the adoption of 4G smartphones, growing significantly faster than the market. Moreover, all brand KPIs showed Vodafone managed to strengthen its connection with Romanians and stay the relevant brand, despite Telekom’s massive investment

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