Client ■ What3words
Industry ■ Services
Media used ■ Direct mail, web
Target audience ■ 10 postal CEOs
Date ■ May 2016
Country ■ 10 African countries
Agency ■ OgilvyOne London


In 2016, 75% of the world's population had no reliable system of addressing. Streets, house numbers and post-codes simply did not exist. 4 billion people had no reliable way of receiving mail and consequently were invisible. In developing countries, it was also a barrier to growth as they could not benefit from the increase in mail from e-commerce. What3words was a revolutionary new way of finding anyone anywhere.

The world was divided into three-metre squares and each square given a three-word address. Complicated co-ordinates were now reduced to just three everyday words. What3words wanted to tell Postmasters in ten key African markets about the simple solution they offered.


What better way was there to reach the Chief Postmasters in Comoros, Senegal, Nigeria, Niger, Togo, Liberia, Ghana, Bénin, Sierra Leone and Gabon than with a letter. But these were letters that replicated the difficulties people had in reaching others when there was no reliable addressing system available. Each envelope gave intricate directions of where it needed to be delivered. Some were visual explanations, some used maps and some bore written directions. (From Moroni airport head east until you hit the Boulevard Karthala. Follow this north, past the Ancien Marché...). Though beautifully designed, each letter demonstrated both the problem and What3words' understanding of the situation.


As a result of the campaign, eight of the ten posts responded and conversations have begun with three, one of whom has just signed an annual contract. Because each market was worth a large amount to What3words, converting just one of the ten postal operators would lead to a healthy ROI. Until February 2017, five countries adopted this innovative addressing system: Djibuti, Ivory Coast, Mongolia, St Maarten, Tonga.