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Three UK – Hey UK, The Real 5G Future is Here (2020)

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Three mobile network promises to help the UK avoid a ‘bleak’ future that ‘sucks’, by delivering technologically advanced excitement with their ‘real 5G’. This three-minute monster of an advert has a VFX budget bigger than your average Marvel movie, and layered gags galore.

But is it any good?


This ad wastes no time in fulfilling the basic aims of advertising in the first twenty seconds:

  1. Establish your consumer’s ‘paint points’, which in this case are fairly broad. They’re telling us it’s hard to feel positive about the future of the UK. Seems about right.
  2. Position your brand as the solution; Three is building the UK’s fastest 5G network.

The link between the problem and the solution is clear enough. Life might seem bleak right now, but with 5G on the way courtesy of Three, it’s bound to get more exciting.

What follows is an indulgent romp through two minutes and forty seconds of ways it’ll be more exciting. The link is a little tenuous, but we’ll allow it — because it’s funny.

Our favourite gags are the ones that reference sources of British pride — Lewis Capaldi, Greggs, and Boaty McBoatface. We laughed out loud at the spiky TV bingeing booth (and sniggered at the name of the Love Island spoof immediately before).

Layered visual comedy rewards repeat watches, encourages viewers to pay attention, and gets your ad stuck in consumers’ heads. There’s plenty of almost-hidden extras to be enjoyed here, from the ‘Spam Energy’ bars on the shop counter, to the old lady throwing her shopping bag in anger when the bus fails to stop.

This may or may not be what the UK’s future looks like, but in the near future, we’d like to request that all comedy advertising is delivered with a fizzing neon colour palette. It’s like Bladerunner after an extra large can of Red Bull, and while we’re not sure it communicates the brand message any more effectively for its extended ‘Director’s Cut’ runtime, we’re certainly entertained.

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