13 June 2008

It's not often we get the chance to interview Sparky, the famous Jack Russell Terrier who made such a big splash in Singapore for StarHub in 2002 when he went around testing StarHub's mobile coverage around the island, and much later, StarHub's overseas mobile roaming services around the world. But with StarHub's new FREEDOM movement underway, we managed to secure a rare interview with the canine celebrity, after some contractual tussle involving free dog biscuits and a perm.

He's aged very well since the last time we saw him on television, looking just as trim and fit as he ever was. After a little dog chat and a trip to a nearby tree, we settled down for the interview about his new project with StarHub.

Interviewer: It's been at least four years since you made your last appearance. What's happened in between?

Sparky: Well, when the battery finally died in that mobile phone I swallowed, I decided to use up my frequent flyer miles and do some international travelling. Also, I've been lucky to get a nice dog house to live in too, the property market being what it is today. Otherwise, just chilling out!

Interviewer: What made you become the mascot for StarHub's FREEDOM movement?

Sparky: I'll tell you. My Master (he likes it when I refer to him as Master) always brings a dog leash when we go out for walks. But you know, I'm a smart dog; I know when it's time for walks, and I behave myself in public. So one day, I just grabbed our Frisbee and walked out myself just when he wanted me to! When he saw that, he realised he didn't really need the dog leash anymore. At the same time, StarHub was looking for new ideas to spearhead their FREEDOM campaign, and when my owner told them the story, they jumped at the coincidence!

Interviewer: So you aren't on a leash anymore?

Sparky: That's right, no more leashes for me! I think that leashes in general should be put on cats! Have you ever tried to get a cat to play Frisbee?

Interviewer: What do you think about the new promotions and features associated with StarHub's FREEDOM campaign?

Sparky: It's wonderful! Not only do you get a free three-month mobile service, there's no contract and no obligations. If you're a student, you can enjoy truly free unlimited SMS and MMS to anyone, regardless of the mobile operator the recipient is on. Finally, StarHub is enhancing their MaxMobile Value VAS with more free bundled data, a dramatically lower price cap so users can surf as much as they want without worrying about getting a 'bill shock' at the end of the day. So users get the freedom to enjoy worry-free mobile Internet on the go with the service provider that offers superior data coverage at the highest upload and download mobile broadband speeds!

Interviewer: Where will you appear for the FREEDOM campaign?

Sparky: I'll be on television, in print, on outdoor advertising, in stores and on StarHub's packaging. Almost everywhere actually!

Interviewer: Was it difficult for you to return to such prominence?

Sparky: Not at all! It was like riding a bicycle -

Interviewer: You ride bicycles?

Sparky: Only First Class, in the front basket.

Interviewer: What do you think of the whole FREEDOM campaign?

Sparky: I think it's a great opportunity for new users who have yet to try StarHub's mobile service to have a go. Now is especially a good time for our cable TV and MaxOnline customers to enjoy the freedom of hubbing with StarHub by taking a Mobile service and getting additional Hub Club discounts across all three platforms immediately.

Interviewer: Finally, who's your favourite team to win the EURO 2008?

Sparky: Tricky question! It's a pity England isn't in it! That'll be my first choice! I'd say Portugal or Spain.

Interviewer: Thank you!

Sparky: Woof!


About StarHub’s FREEDOM marketing campaign

StarHub's brand new FREEDOM marketing campaign launches today on television, in print, on outdoor advertising, in stores and on StarHub packaging. Fronted by Sparky, the FREEDOM campaign will run for slightly over a month and a half.

The FREEDOM campaign will highlight three key value propositions -

(1) Users have the FREEDOM to choose to use StarHub's mobile service with no contract and therefore no obligations. Plus, new mobile customers who would like to try StarHub's postpaid mobile services can do so for three months absolutely free! Cable TV and MaxOnline customers who sign up for a mobile line can immediately enjoy Hub Club benefits.

(2) Students have the FREEDOM to enjoy unlimited SMS and MMS to anyone. They won’t be limited to merely sending their SMS and MMS messages to other people on the same network. Instead, they would be able to send what they want, whenever they want and to whomever they want regardless of the mobile operator of the recipient.

(3) Mobile Internet users have the FREEDOM to enjoy worry-free mobile Internet on the go with the service provider that offers superior data coverage at the highest upload (1.9Mbps) and download (7.2Mbps) speeds. FREEDOM is also offering a mobile broadband value-added service, with a bigger free data bundle, a lower price cap so that users will only be charged at most $36.38 regardless of how much mobile data they consume. No more worries about getting a 'bill shock' at the end of the month.

Ms. Iris Wee, Head of Marketing at StarHub said of Sparky, "Sparky embodies all the values we see in our FREEDOM message - he's spirited, clever, adventurous and endearing. FREEDOM is about empowerment, a sense of adventure and people's ability to discern where the true value lies in StarHub's mobile services. With true mobile number portability, our FREEDOM movement is a chance for mobile users who have yet to try StarHub's service to see that yes, in fact, the grass is greener on our side."

Said Ms. Rowena Bhagchandani, Brand & Business Director, DDB, "Full Mobile Number Portability is all about freedom, because consumers are free to choose, to demand better value and to expect more from us. We believe it is, in fact, their prerogative. And we are confident that we will be more than able to meet their expectations, as we have been for the past eight years. We have always been offering our customers innovative solutions that set the standard for the whole industry. That has helped us build a loyal customer base which can only grow!"

Brand Campaign Credits as follows:

Creative agency: DDB

Writers: Mahesan M (TV & Print) Priti Kapur (Online)

Executive Creative Director: Neil Johnson

Creative Director (Tribal DDB): Jeff Chong

Art director: Francis Tan (TV), Tan Thuang Tee, Ivan Chong & Khalid Osman (Print)

Media agency: Zenith Optimedia

Interactive agency: Tribal DDB

Production house for TV: Republic Films Private Limited

Director: Marcus Hamill

Production house for Print: Groovy Private Limited

Photographer: Yang Tan

For FREEDOM, visit www.choosefreedom.com.sg.