News & Views

Three / #DancePonyDance

by Contagious Team

Pony picks up speed for UK in viral campaign to encourage people to 'keep internetting'

Three's pony has been galloping all over the internet at breakneck speed. Launched on 1 March in a TV ad where it moonwalks to Fleetwood Mac's Everywhere (above), it's since gone viral, having picked up more than 3.5 million YouTube views in six days for the UK's fourth largest mobile operator. 

What's more, Three wants people to create their own dancing ponies and has provided aPony Mixer tool to enable them to do so. People can choose from different musical genres such as rave, funk and boyband, to see their customised pony move and can then share it via social media. In a veritable internet meme pile-up, there's already a Harlem Shake pony mix. Also with a view to prolonging the pony's viral success, the company is floating the hashtag #DancePonyDance

So what's the point of all this? Three is attempting to celebrate 'all the seemingly stupid stuff we look at online on a daily basis.' While it 'may seem silly,' claims Three, 'it's not - it's what connects us through the simple act of sharing.' 

Wieden+Kennedy London, Three's agency, reports on its blog that Second Sync, which analyses Twitter conversations, claims that the video generated 14,000 tweets within five hours of its internet premiere on Friday 1 March.

Contagious Insight 
A potent combination of fierce competition and strong branding from its UK rivals has made it tricky for Three to differentiate itself as a telco. It was the first operator to introduce an 'all you can eat' data plan in 2011 which helped push up customer numbers by 18% to over 8.2 million. It also recently invested in the 4G auctions, but only after the UK's largest operator, EE - an umbrella brand for T-Mobile and Orange - had established a head-start in 2012. 

So today it suffers from something of an identity crisis, and the celebration of all the funny little things that we discover online and want to share with our friends is a strong starting point to help it address this. Most operators differentiate either on price or the fringe benefits of being a customer (Orange Wednesdays, O2's Priority Moments). Yet the high view count suggests that this concept has clearly resonated with a target audience that fritters away time interacting with the more frivolous content that the internet has to offer.

This story originally appeared on Contagious Feed. Contagious Feed is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious Feed contact