Zoozoos Go Global

By Mash Bonigala

Although Vodafone is an international company, their lovable mascots ‘Zoozoos’ are only used as marketing in a select number of markets. However, this has not cut back on the popularity of the black and white human-like creatures. In fact, they have reached cult status in countries such as India. Vodafone wisely plans to respond by making Zoozoos a part of their marketing all over the globe.

Vodafone has a recognizable brand and logo design. Their logo is very simple, with a red quotation mark enclosed in a white circle. We have written about this logo before—many feel that it looks like a drop of blood, which is hardly a positive image—but it is very memorable and easy to recognize, which is important in global developing markets where literacy may be low. In addition, the circular shape and the lower case writing give a friendly and approachable feeling that is exactly what most mobile customers want.

The Zoozoos are also recognizable, friendly and approachable—similar to the existing Vodafone brand. They look like animated characters in most of the advertisements, but they are real people inside padded suits, similar to a character on a children’s programme. The Zoozoos are being introduced in India, where they have a large following already, and will be released in other countries gradually. Vodafone has operations in thirty countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. The company has not specified which markets will get the humanoid characters next.

Zoozoos may speak another language—one that is not related to any language on Earth—but so far potential customers seem to understand what they have to say. They appeal to people in a variety of age groups and so far in several cultures as well. This may be due to how plain the Zoozoos are. They are non-racial and non-ethnic, removing common human barriers. Their words may not be intelligible, but their message about Vodafone is quite clear.

This is not the first time that Vodafone has used lovable characters to promote their company. In 2007, the company used a little pug dog and a funny strapline to endear customers. The Zoozoos were released in 2009 and so far have been successful in every market that they enter.

Some marketing campaigns seem to take off while others flounder. While no one can invent a magic marketing formula that will guarantee success, this should not stop you from experimenting. Vodafone has a strong brand, a recognizable logo design, and a young yet diverse market that is open to new and fun characters. This was the perfect recipe for Zoozoo success.

What is next for the Zoozoos? Will we be seeing branded dolls, apparel, even programming? Already desktop wallpapers and other virtual products with the characters are popular. Will people embrace them for years to come or are they a fad? Only time will tell how long this marketing and branding strategy will be effective for Vodafone. If your marketing is not as effective, it may be time to have a look at your UK business brand.