The mobile operator is shifting from focusing on value to pushing out its brand values in the multi-million pound push, after undertaking several months of research into its target audience and their interests. The company did launch a campaign in November 2011 around its network benefits, but the latest campaign eschews mention of product at all. The last major brand campaign was in 2009.

Tom Malleschitz, Three marketing director, admitted to Marketing Week the company has “lacked brand consideration” among what it internally calls the “early majority” segment – people who want smartphones but are not necessarily early adopters.

He added the company has not run such a sizeable campaign in years because it has been investing in building its network, improving customer service and building “proof points” around its brand before “shouting loud” about them.

Malleschitz says: “We are still the relatively new kids on the block and our marketing budget needs to work harder [than our rivals] because we are smaller. We have invested and built up our network for four to five years and in our customer services – because Three was in a different shape four to five years ago. Changing the perception of us from this to a great network takes time but this will change and has already changed a great amount in the last couple of years.”

Research conducted by BrainJuicer and commissioned by Three found its target audience loves sharing videos and photos via their mobiles with friend -particularly animals in funny situations.

A TV ad, created by Wieden + Kennedy, features a Shetland Pony moonwalking to “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac, who recently announced they were reforming. It carries the strapline “Silly Stuff. It Matters”.

The ad will be supported by a web based app hosted on YouTube called, which encourages users to “mix up” the ad with different songs and animals and share their mixes with friends – with the best customisations featuring in additional marketing activity. It will also feature outdoor, in cinema and on Three’s social media channels. Mindshare handled media planning and buying.

Three has also partnered with The Guardian’s online edition to launch a new section called “Keep on Internetting”, which will core the most liked, shared and mentioned content online. Media was planned and bought by Mindhsare.

The push comes ahead of the wider rollout of 4G beyond EE by operators Three, O2 and Vodafone.

Malleschitz explains Three will not hero the 4G spectrum it acquired earlier this month in Ofcom’s auction as the company believes it already has “ultrafast” technology.

He adds: “We already have an ultrafast network which is the answer to all the techhy talk. We truly believe tecchy language is something we should avoid. Our customers want a reliable, fast network that should be available for the whole country with no premium.”