O2 “Be More Dog”: the biggest ego trip ever?

Have O2 lost the plot completely with their latest campaign that asks us "To be more dog"? Or is it is a brilliant, new age bit of social powered marketing?

The TV ad at the heart of a reported £10million campaign could easily be mistaken as being for a brand of catfood. As the 3G website explains: 

"The video follows the unnamed cat as he has a eureka moment and decides his existence is dull and lacking in excitement. He decides to take on the role of a dog and all that dogs do – such as chasing cars, jumping in lakes, retrieving sticks and digging holes.

The underlying message is that O2 want us to have a look at O2 in a new light: using its mobile phones and technology to do more and make your mobile life more interesting."

You can click below on the blog to watch the ad, or see it here on YouTube.


The ad encourages you to go to the O2 website where you meet the cat-who-thinks-he-is-a-dog again. If you link your phone to your computer using a QR code, you can play a game throwing a frisbee at the dog on the screen. This is supposed to demonstrate the technology of using your phone to drive other devices.

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Dig deeper in the website, if you have not lost the will to live, and you finally find out what the bloody hell all this be a dog stuff is about. The answer is getting more out of your O2 phone, by changing it when you want or using an O2 guru. 

What the hell is going on here?

1. Sponsored entertainment?

The TV ad strikes me as 71 seconds of sponsored entertainment: a mildly entertaining film with the brand slapped at the end. Being entertaining and getting across a message is great. But this seems to be £10 million spent to drive me to bemoredog.com and play a frisbee game. Now, the ad has been watched lots of times on YouTube with almost a million views. But with what impact on the brand?

2. Product disconnect

The link between the emotional sizzle and the product sausage just doesn't work for me. Being more dog is about enthusiasm, energy and outdoors adventure. But the product examples are not like this at all: changing your phone, using your O2 number on a laptoop and O2 gurus. These types of service are not helping me to be dog-like at all.

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3. Missing out on memory structure

O2 has created a visual world with blue bubbles, and a set of distinctive propositions such as 02 Rewards, Treats and Priority, as I posted on here. And the brand was also a technology leader, being the first to offer the iPhone. None of this memory structure seems to be tapped into in this new campaign. Instead, O2 is spending millions of pounds on the cat-who-thinks-he-is-a-dog brand property, which has a tenuous link to the brand. 

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Characters can work well when the link to the brand is strong. You might not like the meerkats is comparethemarket.com's campaign, but they did a great job of promoting the website. Interestingly, the agency who did the Compare the Market campaign, VCCP, has also done this new O2 campaign…

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Net, to me this is a poor way to spend £10 million and will not do much for the O2 brand and business. But then perhaps I am just too old and don't get it. Perhaps it is a brilliant, new age bit of social powered marketing. 

What do you think?