Case studies

Three and Empire Awards

In 2017, Three partnered with the world’s biggest movie magazine, Empire, for its flagship event, the Empire Awards. Alongside this highly prestigious occasion, Bauer created a multi-platform campaign to drive awareness of Three and to promote its ‘Feel At Home’ proposition to an engaged, passionate audience.


The challenge

As well as driving awareness of its brand, Three’s key focus was to promote its ‘Feel at Home’ proposition, which allows customers to use their phone in over 60 destinations abroad at no extra cost. Our challenge was to promote this key message across a year-long campaign with Three. To launch the partnership, we utilised our flagship sponsorship opportunity, the acclaimed Empire Awards.


Our Approach

For eight years, the Empire Awards had enjoyed a successful headline sponsorship with Jameson. But in 2017, we needed to take this sponsorship opportunity back to market and secure the investment required to ensure the event’s future success. After approaching Three, our focus was to provide it with a joint-branded content-driven partnership while simultaneously promoting it’s key ‘Feel at Home’ messaging. The Empire Awards offered Three access to the exclusive and exciting world of film and entertainment, as well as reaching a highly engaged and passionate audience.


The Idea

In 2017, the 21st Empire Awards would be rebranded as the ‘Three Empire Awards’. A joint logo was created and featured at all times across promotion for the awards ceremony. We used all of Empire’s touch points across print, online and social media to form a multi- platform campaign. As well as using the official hashtag #ThreeEmpireAwards, further support was generated across a selection of Bauer Media’s flagship brands, including KISS FM UK’s Breakfast show, presented by Rickie, Melvin and Charlie. As well as being the headline sponsor of the event itself, Three sponsored four awards – Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Sci-Fi Movie and the Empire Hero Award.



For the first time, the Awards took place at the iconic Roundhouse in Camden, which gave Three additional branding and experiential opportunities both inside and outside the venue. Three’s presence was also incorporated into every aspect of the event, from press boards to tickets. To further suppport the ceremony, editorial incorporated Three’s ‘Feel at Home’ messaging into magazine displays, advertorials and podcasts, allowing the brand to reach over 1.2million of Empire’s audience. A content-driven approach utilised Empire’s access to talent, with press room interviews taking place on a Three-themed couch and incorporating sponsor-related questions around using your phone and sharing holiday spam while abroad. To further promote Three during the event, there was a joint-branded red carpet photo experience and a photo booth that encouraged guests to post on social media using the exclusive hashtag #ThreeEmpireAwards.



£10 million

worth of PR generated, which exceeded Three's expectations, which was more than double the year before

242 pieces

on platforms generated, such as Good Morning Britain and Mail Online

3.9 million

consumers reached through Empire's touch points alone

Empire is a global entertainment brand with a mainstream audience – and a perfect fit for us. The Empire audience love to watch and stream films, videos and content across its various on and offline platforms, so it appeals to our data hungry customers. It’s also a great community to target with our ‘Feel at Home’ messaging, especially as we are the only operator that allows users to use their data abroad at no extra cost in countries outside of Europe, such as the USA and Australia

Lianne NorryDirector of Brand and Comms at Three