Three - iPhone

Case study - Objective: Fame & stature
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Historically, the release of a new iPhone is one of the most anticipated times of year for telecommunication clients, with the opportunity to seize market share and attract new customers resulting in a chaotic and fiercely competitive marketplace. What’s more, 2017 saw the launch of not one, but two new handsets.

In order to create fame and stature for Three, while simultaneously prompting action and hard sales, the campaign strategy needed to incorporate both brand building and direct response objectives to cut through the noise of other networks. But there was one big challenge: Apple supplies very strict guidelines and the same headline image to every network. As a result, brand blindness was a risk. To combat this, a number of steps were taken.

Firstly, Three started its campaign before the official iPhone period – with brand focused ‘Reasons to choose Three’ messaging – putting the provider front of mind in the run up to iPhone season. High profile cover wraps followed (on the Evening Standard three days before the iPhone launch and on Metro on the day of launch) to create standout.

Throughout the rest of the campaign period, DPS’ and consecutive page ads delivered dual messaging; allowing for a brand campaign to run alongside a direct response campaign. Not only did the multiple messaging potentially boost memory recall, but the extended campaign period needed for the launch of two Apple devices meant that several messages could be rotated, keeping the campaign fresh.

Key findings:

  • Direct response press activity drove strong ROI, contributing to the highest ROI of any media channel
  • Print delivered a cost-per-acquisition which was -89% lower than digital display


We had the opportunity to run creative that stood out within the busy, cluttered, print space where hundreds of advertisers were competing to get those seconds of attention from customers.

Carolina Reyes Prieto, direct response specialist