QMobile, not so smart after all

Where was QMobile for the last 18 months, and who brought it back in business? These are some of the basic questions one might ask after watching the current brand communication. The sudden disappearance of the brand from the mainstream media and the market was a shock. The smart and most sought after mobile phone brand is now back, though not with a bang.

The reason behind the 18-month hiatus was the charge of smuggling and fraud. It was reported that customs authorities had intercepted the attempt to smuggle thousands of QMobile handsets worth Rs. 1 billion. It seems the company has settled the legal issues and will try to get its market share back.

Before going off-air, QMobile was heavily banking on its high end smart phones. Celebrities like Mahira Khan, Maya Ali and Fawad Khan endorsed top of the line handsets. The current ad campaign featuring Javed Sheikh and Adnan Shah Tipu focuses on entry level phones. It talks about three basic things that we want from a phone, longer talk-time, powerful speakers and durability. The sets highlighted in the TVC include LT360, Phantom P1, Phantom P1 Pro, HD Plus and QMobile Fire.

Smart phones are not highlighted in the TVC.

Around 7 years ago, there was a negative perception that QMobile is not reliable and trust worthy. People were reluctant to buy brands like QMobile, G-Five, VGO etc. After running aggressive marketing campaigns for several years QMobile has successfully turned the negative perception into an insight which is used in the current advert to the brand’s advantage. It’s a major shift in QMobile’s repute as a brand. This is the strength of effective and aggressive marketing and communication strategy.

The brand has been relentless in creating one campaign after the other with top Pakistani and Indian celebrity endorsements. At one time QMobile was the heaviest spender on mainstream television. It matched, or even surpassed, the marketing budgets of big brands like Coke, Nestle and Unilever. It remains to be seen how QMobile will approach the market of today. The inflation is at the all-time high. The buying power of the common man is drained out. Will QMobile keep on churning out cheap priced Android Smart Phones for the Pakistani people?