This Telco Put Radio Scripts on Its OOH Ads, and Got the Public to Record Them

Skinny has more than 1,500 submissions so far

In a fun bit of cross-media engagement, New Zealand telco Skinny has been putting up out-of-home ads printed with radio scripts—and asking passersby to call a number and record the voiceovers for upcoming ads.

The idea came from the agency Colenso BBDO. The strategy is to emphasize that Skinny saves money in whatever ways it can, and then passes the savings on to consumers. The fun extra wrinkle here is that consumers are helping the brand save even more money, and essentially passing the savings on to themselves. (And they seem perfectly willing to work for free on top of it.)

The end result is "an out-of-home campaign, that doubles as a radio campaign, that triples as a cost-effective way to tell the nation about Skinny’s incredible mobile network and low prices," the agency says.

The campaign's varied use of media is a lot of what makes it fun. In addition to billboards and newspaper ads, the scripts appear on takeaway coffee cups, bar coasters, movie screens, 3 a.m. TV ad slots, social and street posters. See some of the executions here:

Below are a few of the finished radio spots. To me, the woman's recording is the most lively of the bunch—the two guys both sound a little mopey—but all of them are charming in an off-kilter way. (You can add word-of-mouth as a third campaign medium once these sudden radio stars start telling their friends how they made a radio ad that's actually airing.)

Skinny Radio Ad #1
Skinny Radio Ad #2
Skinny Radio Ad #3

Simon Vicars, chief creative officer at Colenso BBDO, tells Muse they've received more than 1,500 recordings so far, totaling some 12.5 hours of recorded audio. "New Zealanders are loving it. So are the Skinny marketing team. But no one loves it more than their accountants," he says.

Asked about what criteria the agency was using to select the recordings to use for ads, Vicars said: "Our original criteria was ‘not awful,' but we’ve actually been so surprised. People are taking it really seriously and doing multiple takes to get it right. In choosing which ones to air, we’ve just tried to get a real cross section of the country on the radio."

"We can't compete on advertising spend, so we're always looking for super smart ways to be efficient, and showcase Skinny's standout sense of humor," adds Ally Young, brand lead at Skinny.


Client: Skinny
Domain Chapter Lead, Brand: Ally Young
Agency: Colenso BBDO
Media Agency: PHD
Any other partners: DRUM

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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