We recently launched our first work for the mobile operator 3, a big moment for glue breaking through the line, and an even bigger moment for 3 after an eighteen month hiatus from major brand led advertising. With that in mind here’s my personal thoughts on our first major piece of work for 3, and their first step towards ‘Changing Mobile Forever’.
We had already been working with 3 on the digital side after our original above the line pitch almost two years ago, but I don’t think anything really prepared us for the huge step up in responsibility and the sheer increase in work load that taking the lead on the account would mean. Regardless the opportunity was impossible to ignore; to work with a brand bursting with potential, but that had been held back by muddled thinking and which had struggled to find its true voice. So with that in mind we got off to a particularly forthright start...
In four months of hectic activity we’ve discovered a lot about ourselves, but even more so we’ve developed a huge respect for 3’s organisation in the process. It would have been too easy in the past to categorise 3 as ‘fifth in a market of four’; and certainly previous accusations of style over substance in their communications may have had some weight. The memorable work by WCRS a few years ago, was arguably not supported by customer service or network coverage of the same caliber. Very cool ads, mostly pissed off customers.
Fortunately what we’ve come to understand and what we’ll be helping to communicate over the months to come is a very different picture. Without wanting to drift off into press release territory, the investments 3 have made into their vastly improved and upgraded future network, the huge leaps forward they have made in customer service and their lack of legacy 2G technology have placed them in remarkably strong position to benefit from the regulatory changes that will take place over the next couple of years.
The first implication of this has been the immediate roll out of free unfettered use of Skype to all of their customers regardless of which contract or pay as you go plan they are on. 3’s customers have had access to Skype on the 3 network for some time, only now its free to everyone.
No other operator is doing this, and the reality is that none of them really could; either it would destroy their existing business model or their legacy technology simply wouldn’t allow Skype to be offered to enough of their customers in this way. Properly disruptive then.
In a market that swings between confusing price messages or empty feel-good promises, we hope that this bold new approach will be a welcome breath of fresh air. What 3 is doing is as important, if not more important, than anything that they are saying; it’s exactly this fine line that we will need to tread in all of our work
Ballsy, grown up, perhaps a little serious; it won’t necessarily be a YouTube hit, but what's more important is that it is definitely 3 and it’s certainly a massive step-change from where things were just a few short months ago. The challenge we’re going to have now, is to keep the momentum going and ensure we do justice to the claims we’re making with ‘Changing Mobile Forever’.
Whatever you think of the work so far (and I’m sure you’ll tell me), what’s important for us is that we’ve made a clean break with the past and set a strong marker for where 3 are going in the future.
Within glue it has been hugely galvanising and satisfying to deliver such a massive campaign especially with the help of so many other people and agencies. So expect more chapters in the story of how 3 are Changing Mobile Forever and hopefully much more debate to come.