Client: Three Ireland
Title: The Connected Island
Media: Integrated B2B campaign
Date Of Campaign: Jan 2020 - ongoing
Background: To prove the power of Three’s Mobile’s connectivity, we brought Three’s technology to the forgotten Irish island of Arranmore, reversing over 150 years of emigration. Our biggest challenge wasn’t finding a way to bring Three’s tech to Arranmore, it was convincing people they could live and work on this remote island in the Atlantic, as easily as in any city. To do this, we needed a PR idea that connected with the hearts and minds of the public and the media. An idea so big it would grab people’s attention and act as a showcase for Three’s network and technology.Arranmore Island is one the last remaining ‘Gaeltacht’ regions that speaks the native Irish language. Decade after decade, the island's population has dropped, as islanders left in searchof employment - a problem compounded by the digital age. After the government excluded Arranmore from the national broadband scheme, it was predicted to be abandoned by 2042; meaning young families and modern businesses couldn’t survive there. At the same time, Three had a perception issue, particularly with businesses who feltThree’s connectivity was substandard. We developed ‘The Connected Island’ idea to demonstrate the power of Three’sconnectivity and after the tech was installed, our PR brief was to share thenews with people in Ireland that they could live and work on Arranmore. But to truly prove the power of Three’s connection we would have to reverse 150+years of emigration, so we felt we had to take the brief further…
Idea: Once we brought connectivity to Arranmore Island, we needed to bring people. We needed an idea that captured the hearts and minds of the public and the media. An idea that would secure Arranmore’s future and become a case study of Three’s network and technology. Rather than relying on a press release from Three, we thought it’d be better to let the islanders do the talking, as they could bring the magic of Arranmore to life in a more personal and captivating manner. We wrote a series of open letters, with the Arranmore Island Council, declaring the island open for business and inviting people to live, work, and connect. To grab the attention of news desks, each letter was tailored to the country receiving it. This human-interest led approach was designed to generate editorial cut through and appeal to media outlets that we know are turned off by branded comms. We quickly went from a domestic idea to an international campaign. So, we put our faith in the power of our story to elicit a snowball reaction from the media, who over a 2-week period, became captivated. While our team pitched the story directly to media in Ireland, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, we used the support of paid-for-syndication services to tackle the US. We specifically targeted top tier outlets who we knew drove the news agenda in each market - focusing on journalists who had written about Ireland or remote working. And on top of press materials and open letters, we gave the media access to our most captivating asset - the islanders. We showcased Three Mobile’s connectivity by letting the islanders do the talking - no contrived media briefings full of carefully constructed key messages, just straight from the heart. For the media, that was everything.
Results: The snowball effect worked. From top-tier US networks, to prime-time TV in Australia, to national UK media, we connected with the hearts and minds of the international media, achieving a potential reach of 1,150,912,505. But more than press coverage, more than social media engagement, more than anything, we saved a dying island from extinction. From US adventurers making the trip across the Atlantic, to Korean documentary makers picking up the story, to Twitter employing its first Arranmore resident, to a journalistvisiting and never leaving, the story of our PR campaign runs deeper than the usual metrics. Arranmore received over 3,500 enquiries to move. Tourism increased by 84% giving the local economy the boost it desperately needed. But most importantly, the population of the island grew by a massive 11% - securing the island’s future for generations. The results we achieved on this seemingly insignificant island on the edge of Europe were deemed so significant by the European Commission that they invited us to Brussels topresent the project to an audience of 200+ community groups, government representatives, and senior officials of EU Member States, as a blueprint for how to use connectivity to save other isolated communities on the brink of extinction. And as hoped, the campaign transformed perceptions of Three’s network and technology, with “The Connected Island” achieving unprecedented business metrics: +152% YoY growth+18% Business leads+17% IoT sales+23% Connected Products & Services uplift+203% Corporate base business growth+50% Revenue on business solutions