Advertising / Experiential / Mobile / PR / Social Media

Moonwalking all the way to the knacker’s yard.

Weiden + Kennedy’s latest ad for network provider Three has just been released. It features a pony moonwalking to a Fleetwood Mac track. And finishes on the slogan ‘keep on internetting’.

What a waste of a great opportunity.
Let me explain. The topline strategy is sound – let’s celebrate the mad, crazy, weird, outrageous stuff that’s out there. The nonsense we send to each other to brighten up our days.

A rich vein to tap. Or so you’d think. The problem is, the ad isn’t really funny. Or that interesting. Or sticky.
There’s much, much, much funnier material out there already. Terabytes of it.
Can you blame Weiden + Kennedy? Not really. They did the only thing ad agencies know how to do – make an ad. Oh, and they’ve also knocked-up a microsite (with eight-year old functionality) where you can create your own pony ‘dance’.
And that’s the campaign. Finito. End off.

So what did Three get for their undoubtedly large agency bill? A lot of post-production time, and a very expensive music track. And a sluggish microsite – that inexplicably isn’t even optimised for mobile.

Three Dancing Pony Microsite

The trouble is, because it came from an ad agency, the ‘Big Idea’ begins and finishes with a TV commercial. Sure there’s a microsite too, but that’s most likely a sop to ‘integration’. (Still a dirty word in so many ad agencies.)

Advertising agencies don’t get participation, or engagement or relationships. They operate in a creative bubble where the 30-second spot is still king. Advertising champion Charles Vallance, founding partner of ad agency VCCP, was still making this very claim in Campaign magazine only a few weeks ago.

Now, if this creative brief  (and not inconsiderable budget) had gone to a forward-thinking PR, Experiential, or even Mobile agency, I believe that a truly great piece of work would have been created.
They would have come up with a variety of ways to engage people and really put them on to the Three brand. (Which, let’s face it, is far from being on the tip of everyone’s tongue…)

What about an outdoor screening on the South Bank of the wackiest/funniest films on the Net? People could text and vote for their favourite, with results being shown live in real time. Great entertainment. Great brand exposure.
Or late-night guerrilla projection screenings of the rudest & funniest online virals – coming to a wall on a pub near you. Brands love a bit of edginess.

And if you were feeling really radical, you might even do something specific to mobile. Vine, Twitter’s latest mobile film-sharing App, would lend itself brilliantly to this.

Three is a mobile company, yet this whole campaign is TV and desktop focussed.
How on God’s earth was that not picked up by the strategy team? Or the client? Or the trade press for that matter?

Three had the opportunity to create an ongoing brand association with one of our biggest cultural phenomena – the sharing of weird and wacky content, often via your mobile. And they failed to take advantage of it.

However they have at least paved the way for a funny and highly-topical spoof.

Weiden + Kennedy have created an ad called The Pony. And frankly that’s about how much I would have paid for the creative execution. (For the non-cockneys among you, a Pony is London slang for £25).

No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog.

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