Thursday, 25 June 2015


One of the most successful UK advertising ideas of the last few years is the “Be More Dog” campaign for O2, created by VCCP.

It’s a very simple thought in a way. The main ‘character’ is a cat who acts, talks and thinks more like a dog. That idea sends a powerful message about O2, because, well, a company that claims to be acting more like a dog and less like a cat is an appealing one. It's also a call to action to the audience themselves. In a crowded market of successful campaigns, that's a good way to gain traction.

And that single statement wraps up a lot of meaning in just a few words. It means caring more, doing more, and having more energy. It means having customers who are "adventurous, inquisitive and active". And above all, it means being a company which is more motivated to help people.

It doesn’t hurt that the executions they’ve come up with have been a lot of fun – creative and engaging. Stylistically they have a great tone of voice. And especially, they feel vibrant, adaptive – just what a company that is all about technology and customer service should be.

But the O2 case is an important one to look at, beyond any single creative execution, because it demonstrates a more universal truth: that having that strong initial idea is the first step towards everything else. The “Be More Dog” idea is powerful because it builds a universe of content around it. It’s an idea powerful enough that O2 can keep expanding on it over time, constantly generating new initiatives and strands of thought while remaining within that first framework.

I mean seriously. It just goes on and on. And that's just in film.

Trying to build a strategy without an idea doesn’t get you very far. But with a big idea there’s no limit, because a big idea isn’t limited to a time and a place. Or a type of media. A big idea can go anywhere you want it to.

So if you have a major campaign you’re creating, a new positioning or a new brand messaging, it pays to keep asking yourself, “What’s the big idea?”

(I know, it's a ground-breaking thought!)

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