Search marketing insights from O2’s ‘be more dog’ advert


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I came across the ‘be more dog’ advert by O2 a few days ago and it got me pumped up. It was a breath of fresh air and I got down to scribbling insights, generated from this award-winning campaign.

On this occasion, these insights will be applied to the ever changing landscape of search marketing- organic and paid search fields. They can also be relevant to many fields of human endeavour.

1) Establishing the void (0% dog): The introduction of the ad, establishes how the cat realised it had 0% of dog. In search marketing, it is important to use organic and paid contents to make users understand the void. This makes the user pay more attention to your video, blog, whitepapers, infographics or Gif.

2) Establishing a routine (every day the same): One of the predicaments of being a cat as expressed on the ad is that of routine. Every Internet user has a set of routine in their life, which they might be looking at breaking. It is important to employ an identity-based marketing approach, through designing contents that could inspire a group of Facebook runners, who only compete for marathons in Europe to consider one in Singapore. Helping users understand the routine in their lives and how your product or service could help them break that cycle is crucial to the success of a search marketing campaign

3) Help them question the routine (why be so cat?): In the online customer journey, it is paramount to provide contents that will help users question the status quo, routine or the conventional. This is the point where your campaign shows it’s got a solution or an irresistible offering.

4) Help them figure out the solution (How dog are you?): You’ve helped them realise there is a problem. Now give them a glimpse of the solution. Not necessarily stating your product offering. Let’s say it’s a user that has always stayed in a hostel whenever they travelled to Europe. And you are, running a promotion for 3-star hotels. You make them understand the benefits of a hotel as compared to a hostel. Issues of privacy, hygiene, security and lot more will be integral to your content or ad.

5) Make the current situation graphic (cold day, indifferent): The cat laments by highlighting how the days are cold and attitude is generally indifferent. In search marketing, it is quite important to design ads and contents that graphically highlight the pain-points of your customer. Spelling these issues helps to emotionally connect with potential customers.

6) Drive them to the point of realization (hit me): In the ad, the cat finally came to the realization that there is a need for change. Powerful contents and compelling ads have a common feature, one that enables the users, visitors or readers to develop a conviction for change. Failing to drive your users to this point means your search marketing campaign needs to be revamped.

7) Help them understand it’s a modification (Why not be a bit more dog?): In content marketing, you are not asking your potential or existing customers to completely change their taste, style and buying behaviour. That will scare the most courageous of individuals. Your goal is to lay out how your service or product will help the cat be more like a dog. You are not asking the cat to completely change its identity to that of a dog. The key is using search marketing campaigns to empower your readers, viewers or potential customers to strive to be a better version.

8) Painting a picture of the revamped customer (running, chasing dogs and carpe diem): In the ad once the cat had become more of a dog, it began running, chasing other dogs and grabbing Frisbee (carpe diem). It still looked like a cat but thought and acted like a dog. Content marketing techniques that involve case studies, testimonials and customer reviews are very powerful in search marketing. It paints a picture of a customer that was once a cat but now a cat with a bit of dog.

9) Give them a chance to tell their stories (100% dog and 110% better): In the Ad, the cat still looked like a cat but it had the instincts and the drive of a dog. It attested to becoming 110% better after the transformation from a lukewarm cat to an agile dog in a cat frame. Allow your customers to express their feelings and thoughts after engaging with your content and product offering. Some customers or users will claim to be 50% better whilst others could be 110%. Give them the freedom to equate their transformational feeling.

There are telling differences between a cat and a dog like dogs can be trained in a matter of minutes while cats are difficult to be trained. Dogs are social beings and desire to be in their pack while cats are solitary in nature. Dogs are full of life and dependable while cats are lukewarm.

In the world of search marketing, providing contents that emotionally drives your target audience is crucial. It is not a matter of demanding they change from cats to dogs but helping them believe they’ve got to let loose of the dog in them.

Dateme Tamuno
Dateme Tamuno (Tubotamuno) is currently working as part of the SEO and PPC delivery team for UK based digital agency, Cariad Marketing. He has also completed a book on user-generated content marketing.


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