Three on ad blocking and ‘pissing off Google’

Three is moving away from ad blocking, instead urging the mobile industry to create “inspirational and relevant” ads.

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Three is moving away from ad blocking after it “pissed Google off” and “received threats” from brands for its approach to mobile advertising.

Speaking at the ad:tech event in London today (2 November), Tom Malleschitz, CMO at Three, said the mobile system is broken and that customers are getting annoyed with mobile advertisers. However, he added that although the ad blocking tests Three trialled earlier in the year with Shine were successful, with 86% of customers satisfied, ad blocking is not the solution to the mobile ad problem. Instead, Three will work with Shine to come up with a new mobile ad product that produces relevant advertising.

“We don’t believe ad blocking is the solution. We are one of the biggest advertisers in the country and I know if I have annoyed you with my ad, I lose money. It is more about creating something that is inspiring and relevant,” said Malleschitz.

Malleschitz admitted that at the time the company announced its work with ad blocking firm Shine, it “pissed off” Ofcom, Google and a number of other brands.

READ MORE: Ad blocking: Internet apocalypse or overblown issue?

“There were some threats in terms of ‘we want to ban all your customers on sites’ but this was based on limited knowledge of what we want to do,” he explained.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Malleschitz said while it is moving away from ad blocking it is still focused on the same three principles it outlined earlier in the year and believes others should also follow suit. These include:

1. Customers should not pay for data on ads
2. Privacy and security must be protected
3. Ads should be relevant and inspirational and not degrade experience.

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Malleschitz said that Three is one of the biggest ad spenders in the country and that instead of ad blocking it has decided to follow its own mantra of “when stuff sucks, make it right”.

“It’s not about ad blocking, its about big love and big hate. I love advertising but I hate it,” Malleschitz said.

He added that creating an emotional connection through advertising and data are key to delivering “inspirational and relevant adds”. He said customers don’t want to see an ad for something “their partner searched for once” or something they have already bought. It has to be relevant to them.

He also believes that Three has more on offer in terms of data than the likes of Google and Facebook. “We know much more about customers and we have much better data. So if a marketer can understand how to translate this into a surprise and delight moment, there is huge opportunity”.

He continued: “It sounds very old fashioned but we also have brick-and-mortar stores, something more young customers are getting involved with. Even Amazon and Google are interested in our stores. You are very close to your customer in store and with them you can transform an industry that is currently less loved than frozen food.”

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