Freedom Mobile taps Will Arnett to show Canadians they can get more data for less

Canadian carrier Freedom Mobile is using gruff-voiced Canadian comic actor Will Arnett to highlight the expensive pain points consumers often experience with their wireless service and show Canadians that they can get more value and data.

Launching in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia markets, the campaign is headlined by Arnett (aka Gob from Arrested Development and the voice of Lego Batman), who acts as the champion for the average wireless consumer in Canada.

While most Canadians are exceedingly polite, Arnett’s character takes a slightly brasher approach as a voice of truth that seeks to expose unreasonable industry practices for data overages, while, of course, promoting Freedom Mobile as a reasonable data provider.

“This campaign challenges the conventions of the Canadian wireless industry by taking aim at the practices that charge wireless users astronomical fees when they go over their data limits,” said Paul McAleese, president, wireless, Shaw Communications. “Transparency means being open and honest with customers to provide a simpler, better and more affordable wireless experience. There are no surprise fees with Freedom Mobile – what you see is what you pay.”

Arnett is the voice that calls attention to the overages in several spots by Freedom’s agency of record, Toronto-based agency Rain. In one back to school ad, he shows up in a girl’s dorm room as she and her dad are taking pictures and getting her settled into the school year. He tells them that the shared data plan they have won’t cut it and that they need to switch to Freedom for the Big Gig plan. In another rant, Arnett is seen and heard calling out high fees from other telcos. But perhaps the best is one that shows off Arnett’s smarmy wit, with him sitting in a hospital, saying that the patients are more worried about their overage fees than their various ailments and accidents.

"Using Will Arnett as a whistleblower gives us a lot of opportunity to extend the campaign," adds Duncan Porter, vice president, executive creative director at Rain. "He's not the stereotypical polite Canadian, but he still enables us to deliver straight talk to the audience in a fun and engaging manner."

Building on the brand’s momentum since introducing its data-rich Big Gig plans last year, Freedom Mobile is now targeting the problems consumers face when exceeding their data limits. Data overage fees in Canada have recently hit new levels, with prices now reaching as much as $100/GB at some carriers. According to the CRTC’s 2017 Communication Monitoring Report, the Canadian wireless industry charged consumers more than $1.2 billion in excess data fees in 20161, with certain carriers doubling their overage rates in the time since then.

"Over the past year we have quietly established Freedom as a true disruptor in the category,” adds Laura Davis-Savile, vice president, head of strategy at Rain. "With this campaign, we are really proving that they are the brand to end mobile compromise and give Canadians what they truly need to live their increasingly mobile and data-heavy lives."

Freedom Mobile recently announced a new line-up of entry-level price plans in July, following the launch of its popular Big Gig plans late last year.

The campaign launches just in time for the back-to-school promotional season and includes a mix of traditional radio, television and outdoor, along with digital video and banners and social advertising.

See the spots by clicking the Creative Works box below.

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