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Is W+K London’s ‘little pony’ ad for Three the most successful UK commercial ever?

Well is Three’s (or 3’s) little pony ad the UK’s most successful multi-media ad (TV and online) since we started trying to measure such things?

So far it’s clocked nearly five million YouTube hits, topped the UK viral charts, clogged up Twitter and Facebook and even propelled old Fleetwood Mac back into the charts.

It’s a Shetland pony of course, and one useful commentator on YouTube tells us that you can’t get 3 in the Shetlands.

Never mind, it’s brave advertising and deserves to succeed. Agency Wieden+Kennedy London is sometimes criticised for trying to be original and different with everything (often a rather painstaking process).

But who else would be so brave?

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

4 comments

  1. My wife loves it… But she still hasn’t bought a bloody pony… Thank God.
    Further proof that advertising doesn’t work!
    Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

  2. How do you measure success. You Tube Views? This “TV advert” hs clearly and a very large marketing budget behind it including some obtrusive facebook ads. Have a read through the comments left by the viewers. I did. the vast majority saying how poor the service is from 3. So if success is giving a voice to the unhappy to spread their negative opinions of the brand, then yes it’s been very successful indeed. I suspect it has also done nothing for sales.

  3. Hi David. Good question – how do you measure success these days? Clearly not only by YouTube views, though the numbers do indicate that we have at least touched a popular nerve. (5 million views in a week, 1 million ponies generated using the ponymixer, average of over five minutes spent using the mixer.) Contrary to your suggestion, comments made by most viewers so far have been overwhelmingly positive, tending towards the likes of ‘best ad ever’ and ‘this made my day’. Just search #danceponydance on twitter to experience the pony love.

    By the way, Three’s network is generally ranked very highly for speed and coverage. For comparison see here: http://ukmobilecoverage.co.uk/best

    It’s too early to judge sales impact after only one week but initial results are looking good and we’re planning to pull together a full case history soon. The interesting thing is that you seem to be suggesting that because the ad is so popular, it follows that it should do nothing for sales. All the research data I’ve seen suggests the opposite and indicates that generating warmth towards a brand translates directly into product sales.

    These comments remind me of the negative backlash that greeted the Old Spice campaign when it first launched. There was a lot of comment along the lines of, “Yeah, it’s funny, but it probably won’t sell any product.” Until P&G confirmed that it had in fact doubled sales.

    Silly stuff. It works.

    (Disclosure: I work at Wieden +Kennedy – the agency behind the Pony and the Old Spice campaign.)

  4. If you’re not different at everything, then why be in advertising? If all artists just copied each other all the time, there would be no art. W+K value creative originality, for which you must suffer the pains of finding that great piece of original creative work that creates something new. Great work, W+K.

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