Gav Thompson

Director of Marketing Innovation O2 and creator of giffgaff

“Mutual, fair and simple” – these were the three words that Gav Thompson, Director of Marketing Innovation, at the British telecom company 02, wrote down during a rather boring Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco in 2008. Those three words would later become the cornerstones of a totally new business model for the mobile phone market, which swiftly gained popularity under the name giffgaff.

Giffgaff is an ancient Scottish expression for “a mutual gift”. As a brand, giffgaff differs from all other mobile providers in that the customers co-create the service model, earning credit for contributions in the field of sales, customer service and marketing. The giffgaff model is based on the power of community. “Our youngest active member is 13, the eldest is 77,” said Thompson in an interview. “Some members spend six hours a day, seven days a week, helping other members via our online forum.” Giffgaff is an example of the power of community being harnessed for a successful commercial partnership for the members and the brand owners alike.

Thompson has been active as a brand and marketing expert for the past 19 years, working across three continents with leading global brands such as Guinness, Volvo, Walkers, Pepsi, FedEx, P&G, Bombay Sapphire, Streetcar and many more.