Despite T-Mobile Girl's Sex Appeal, Few People Actually Knew Who She Was

Carly FoulkesCarly Foulkes for T-Mobile

As the nation struggles to come to terms with the loss of T-Mobile girl Carly Foulkes — the company has decided to drop the pink-clad model from its new iPhone campaign — we at Business Insider felt it was our sacred duty to try and figure out why the company felt Foulkes was no longer right for its brand.

And we discovered some market research showing that, maybe, Foulkes just wasn’t moving the needle for T-Mobile.

We already speculated that one theory is that T-Mobile doesn’t want to distract people from its two new priorities, the iPhone 5 and a no-contract pricing structure.

Carly FoulkesFoulkes in real life, from her Twitter account.

Fair enough. New products, new campaign. Differentiation is important for brands, and T-Mobile definitely wants people to know it’s entering a new stage in its marketing strategy.

But it’s still a big risk to throw the company’s most famous face under the bus.

So we asked E-Poll Market Research, the company that keeps track of how celebrities rank with the public, to give us a look at their data on Foulkes.

One obvious problem is that although Foulkes has greater than average “appeal” among consumers, she still has less-than-average awareness generally. Only 16 per cent of people know who she is, E-Poll tells us, even though she’s been on air for three years with a $500 million-plus ad budget behind her:

  • Awareness: 16% (avg. Corporate Character = 26%)
  • Appeal*: 47% (avg. Corporate Character = 38%)

*per cent of respondents selecting “Like a Lot” or “Like” (top two boxes on a six-point scale) to describe their attitude towards the character.

On all the other important attributes — attractive, sexy, beautiful, etc. — Foulkes knocked it out of the park:

E-PollNote, however, that she didn’t do so well on “approachable,” as well as awareness generally.

Could it possibly be that Foulkes’ sex appeal actually turned off viewers, who were either intimidated or disinterested in what she had to say?

We don’t know.

But it’s a tantalising thought: Foulkes may have been too sexy for iPhone 5.

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