Brand Launch

The brief:

Rapidly scale the EE community while establishing EE as the “most advanced digital communications company.”

Poke’s answer:

We developed the tools and strategy needed to create high quality engagement with an online community who were ready and excited about the launch of 4G.

Nitty gritty

It’s not every day that you get to launch a revolutionary brand to the nation. But that’s exactly what happened to us on 11th September 2012 when Everything Everywhere CEO Olaf Swantee stood beside London Mayor Boris Johnson and announced EE, the UK’s “most advanced digital communications company” and the first in Britain to offer superfast 4G alongside their high-speed fibre broadband network.

From that point on and for the first six weeks – between announcement and doors opening – social was the primary means for consumers to learn about and communicate with the newly created brand. This was the first living evidence of EE; there were no shops, no tariffs and no plans. Our communication worked in that vacuum, informing those influencers and customers who wanted to dig deeper and creating the only real brand presence throughout this pivotal, formative time. We did this in several different ways:

#EE Firsts

Our digital savvy audience needed to feel that EE really were a credible “digital communications company” from their very first contact with us. A creative vehicle was needed; one that would remain consistent while still being very open to lots of different kinds of responses to different stimulus. #EEFirsts was the concept that held this creative content together.  As a new brand, and the first provider of 4G in the UK, we were able to celebrate all kinds of ‘firsts’. From the first person to post on our timeline, to the first smiley face and even the first EE inspired drawing of a platypus, we used this celebration of newness as an invitation for our users to begin interacting with us. These light, playful gestures sat alongside other content including service, product and support, helping to keep our audience entertained and engaged with our fledgling brand as it took its first baby steps into the world.

Fenton Remastered

As well as the low level content activity, we also needed to highlight the bigger, more ambitious side of EE. To show EE valued the YouTube community, we borrowed a commonly known YouTube reference (Fenton) and created a playful, cinematic homage that saw the iconic pet chasing an elephant, ostrich, unicorn and even a T-Rex, as well as the herd of deer. To represent the high quality video streaming on 4G, viewers could even switch between the original video and the “Fenton 4GEE Remaster” to compare the differences. The symbolic gesture of our nod to the YouTube community didn’t go unnoticed: our EE remastered version went on to become the most viewed UK ad on YouTube for the year.

Watch it here.

Viral Posts

Other vehicles were conceived to support specific EE offerings. One such example (on the direct advice of the Facebook team) was a focus on creating posts with the potential for virality. This approach helped us turn a simple post supporting an EE film release – Ice Age 4 – into the UK’s second most viral Facebook post of 2012 (after Mothercare’s congratulatory post for Kate Middleton’s pregnancy, no less).

This success was no mere fluke. Alongside great concepts, witty writing and professional photography, we had devised tools to identify the triggers that would recognise content with natural virality and help us benefit from them.

This allowed us to spend our media budgets much more efficiently. Just as “beta” has become an important methodology in launching digital products, we were now able to accurately ascertain how positively EE social content had been received in real-time from the moment it was published. If the signs were positive and the content was being shared at significant levels, media would then be spent to give an extra push, capitalising on the content’s resonance with the audience. 

EE Social Hub

This was all possible thanks to our creation of the EE Social Hub – a state-of-the art listening centre, complete with a new team and a set of ‘social tools’ to help EE coordinate, manage and evaluate social intelligence in real-time. 

One of the first facilities of its kind in the UK, the EE Social Hub is now an established and integral part of EE’s every day business. Yet its pivotal role in the intense launch moments of the brand cannot be understated. As the brand took its first breaths in the world we brought senior representatives from across the business, as well as support and creative teams together in the same room to interpret and react to social activity as one coherent unit. 

This was the meeting point of this new brand with the outside world. Customers influencers and journalists alike were waiting with pressing questions, concerns, thoughts and opinions. Thanks to the EE Social Hub we were able to clearly distinguish between low-key chatter and more substantial social media discussions. This helped present EE as a truly credible digital brand, by responding in near real-time to comments that mattered (including a quickly created piece of content dedicated to Boris Johnson after his presentation at the Science Museum).


This adoption of a ‘social first’ strategy successfully established EE’s personality and did so in a uniquely accessible fashion that broadcast media alone couldn’t achieve.  Rather than being peripheral, we showed that social needed to be central and able to react to issues right across the business, not just marketing.

Through our resonant mix of high quality content and smart media usage we were able to reach significant numbers. And, perhaps most importantly, we proved that social wasn’t just a “nice to have” but pivotal to any new brands success; especially those working primarily in the digital space.


  • Surprising and delighting users with rewards for #EEfirsts – and watching them become increasingly creative in response.
  • Gaining 10,000 Twitter followers and 15,000 Facebook Likes within three days.
  • Working with some of the best agencies and smartest minds in London to pull off a launch in 1 year that would usually take 4.
  • Creating the most successful promoted tweet ever.
  • Feeling like we made a massive difference at such a critical moment for such a huge new business.

What happened

2nd fastest growing Facebook page 2012 (363k).

2nd most shared image on FB UK (58k likes).

Most watched UK YouTube ad (4.4M) + Webby nomination.

Number 1 promoted twitter campaign (81k).

Within its first 6 months, EE was the 3rd most socially devoted brand on FB in the UK.

Social generated over half of all referrals over launch period (verses media placement & search).

Our learnings from EE have now been adopted by Orange and T-Mobile, revitalising their social channels in the process.

Above all, we helped create a radically new experience that has helped define this new brand.