Deutsche Telekom: Familie Heins

- in CASE STUDIES, The Drum
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In 2014, Deutsche Telekom merged all its mobile, broadband, phone and home entertainment services into one new product called ‘MagentaEINS’.

This move was driven on one hand by the desire to increase convenience for customers and, on the other, by the fact that customers perceive those services more and more as a single unit, representing the day-to-day usage of individuals and families, rather than separate products.

Telekom asked DDB Hamburg to create a marketing campaign to promote this new offering.

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DDB came up with a branded content idea: to develop a movie series about a family who would experience all the Deutsche Telekom products within their daily life – like so many other families in Germany do. ‘Familie Heins’ was born.

Together with production company UFA, scriptwriter Johannes Boss and well-known movie director Simon Verhoeven, DDB developed a story with episodes, each featuring a particular MagentaEINS benefit or product.


Each month, an episode of the Familie Heins story aired as a TV commercial, accompanied by long versions and side stories on the Familie Heins YouTube channel. (All media planning and buying was done by MediaCom.)

To extend the campaign reach, the story expanded in many more day-to-day moments, creating a distinctive blur of advertising fiction and reality. For example:

One episode showed the experiences of daughter Clara Heins and her boyfriend, YouTube star Sami Slimani, at one of Telekom’s ‘Street Gig’ music events.

Two episodes showed the adventures of the Familie Heins men at the Cologne carnival – recorded that morning and broadcast as a TV commercial only a few hours later that very same day, marking a milestone in real-time advertising.

An episode made during the Queen of England’s visit to Berlin involved Clara Heins posting footage only minutes after she filmed the Queen passing by.

Another episode showed Clara Heins becoming a real cast member in the sequel to the successful German movie ‘Fack Ju Göhte’, together with lead actor Elyas M’Barek.



Our plan was to create a family that’s different from other ad families. The special thing about Familie Heins is that we’ve invented genuine characters, as used in fiction storytelling. Each of the family members has a special backstory with likes, needs, historical events, etc. This gives us endless possibilities for our storytelling.

Karsten Ruddigkeit, Executive Creative Director, DDB Hamburg


Each main episode of the Familie Heins story underwent Telekom’s standard advertising material test. The results regarding power of attention, acceptance, product understanding, interest in information, interest in usage, purchase intention and brand fit shattered all benchmarks. In addition, positive effects on Telekom’s overall brand monitor were achieved.

With the changed behaviour in media usage as one strong driver, the importance of content-based communication has increased massively. With our campaign ‘MagentaEINS’ featuring our cast ‘Familie Heins’, we are consistently following this direction by managing the distribution of our own video content in various channels – for example, social media platforms, digital adverts, TV commercials, as well as our own web platforms and social media channels. For us, the close conjunction of paid and earned media has become one of the key success factors.

Philipp Friedel, Senior Vice President Market Communication, Deutsche Telekom

This case study was originally published in the BOBCM DACH Region Edition (2015) co-edited by Sandra Freisinger-Heinl and Greta MacFarlane.

About the author

Justin Kirby is a consultant, educator and thought leader with a 20+ year career in industry as a digital strategist, producer and entrepreneur. He chairs and speaks at conferences around the globe, judge industry awards, and advise brands and agencies.