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They think (their talktime) is all over… it’s not now

by Contagious I/O

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, our customisable research platform featuring the world’s most innovative, creative and effective ad campaigns and marketing ideas


LatAm telecom giant boosts market share in Costa Rica by syncing reward initiative with live football matches

Despite having a strong foothold in key LATAM markets such as Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, Claro is a relative newcomer to Costa Rica and was looking to increase its market share. Rather than target customers already tied in to pay-monthly contracts with other providers, however, Claro opted for a more immediate win by going after the comparably fickle pre-pay users.

The premise was simple - drive loyalty by gifting free minutes to pre-pay customers and attract new users in the process. In order to emphasise the value of the giveaway, the telco (via its agency OgilvyCosta Rica) aligned the promotion with another area of Costa Ricans' lives in which extra minutes can be crucial - football.

Claro Extra Minutes - which has just completed its second season - ran at the ground of popular top-tier team, Saprissa. Towards the end of each game, when the fourth official would indicate the amount of extra time to be added, Claro would instantaneously offer the same amount of extra minutes to its pre-pay users.

The 25,000-strong crowd (not to mention average combined TV and radio audience of 425,000) would be alerted via digital signage around the stadium as well as announcements made by the commentators. In order to claim their minutes (which averaged five per-game) they simply sent a free SMS to 7777, at which point the pre-paid value was automatically added to their account.

Results / Ogilvy claims that over 50 million free minutes have been gifted to date and 92% of Claro’s pre-paid user-base reached.


Contagious Insight

Fit, don’t force /

With stand-out in cluttered professional sports stadiums becoming increasingly hard for sponsors to achieve, Claro and Ogilvy’s decision to piggyback an existing point of excitement in the cadence of the game (rather than try and introduce their own new trigger) feels like a smart one. There isn’t one fan who won’t be directing their attention to the fourth official’s electronic board when he walks to the touchline, so this immediately provides the ultimate engagement mechanic for the promotion to work from.

Relative value /

One could argue that a few minutes of extra talktime would not be deemed sufficient reward for engagement in markets such as the US or most of Europe, but in Costa Rica, the average pre-pay recharge is just $1, making the reward delivered through this promotion five times that of the average top-up. The value exchange, therefore, is sufficiently weighted in favour of the user.

Purely transactional /

There’s no doubt that Claro honed in on a specific moment of extreme emotional tension to trigger this promotion, but let’s not forget that in essence, this is still a fundamentally transactional exchange of value between the company and its customers. With this in mind, what would stop one of Claro’s competitor’s launching a promotion that seeks to multiply minutes and instantly winning the favour of said fickle pre-pay users? By choosing to compete on a commodity such as talktime rather than any more meaningful value unique to the brand, we can’t help feeling that Claro might have won a temporary rather than enduring victory in this market.


This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O contact