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Canine Technology: Be More Dog

I’ve seen a bit of discussion online about the new O2 ad from VCCP – not all of it positive. But before I go on, have a look for yourself:

I like it. Yes, it’s not instantly clear what it’s got to do with phones and yes we’re probably reaching saturation point in terms of animals in ads what with all those meerkatscats with thumbs and dancing ponies – and that’s before you even rewind back to the PG chimps and Andrex Puppy.

But ‘be more dog’ made me feel and it made me think. Even a cynical cat person like myself had a hard time suppressing a smile – and that’s something you can’t say for a lot of the crap that fills up the breaks. And if you want the plannery bollocks, there’s a nice observation in there about how jaded we are about technology, and in Britain, how jaded people are about life in general. We moan about our mobile internet being a little slow but forget that it didn’t even exist (for most of us) ten years ago.

The sign of a good creative idea is that it contains a point of view that transcends a specific execution and offers a platform for new thinking – and this campaign probably needs to build a bit more before it really starts to feel distinctively ‘O2′.

But the TV spot also shows the importance of ‘how you say it’ in the first place – in this case the power of a simple analogy. If Samsung or LG had tried to tackle this topic, we probably would have ended up with some generic, pompous guff about ‘limitless possibilities’ or ‘the power of curiosity’. ‘Be more dog’ manages to talk optimistically about technology in a way that’s down-to-earth and charming.

If you’re still reading, there are also some interesting digital extensions – throw frisbees from your phone to your PC, make a (rather heavily branded) cat/dog video for a friend or watch Dom Jolly getting overexcited about cool new gadgets etc

The best consumer segment ever: loves risks, drugs and the odd street fight

I had an all-agency session today where our client shared their new consumer segmentation. Whenever this subject comes up, I can’t help thinking back to an absolutely cracking segmentation from UK mobile retailer Phones4U. And yes, there is such a thing…

What I love about Phones4U’s segmentation is the recognition that if you’re going to create memorable advertising, you need to start with a memorable insight about your audience. On closer inspection maybe it’s more about knowing who not to target. In fact, it doesn’t matter, the point is that Phones4U’s segment profiles are a good deal more entertaining than most you’ll see.

A particular favourite of mine is the Flashing Blades segment, whose behavioural profile includes “taking risks, drugs & the odd street fight.”

Another key audience is iPod Babes. They watch HollyoaksFootballers Wives and Big Brother, shop at Lush and Starbucks, and most importantly, are into “Fuck Buddy Sex”. Although not necessarily in that order.

Read more from about Flashing Blades, iPod Babes and more at The Register

Google: the limitations of design by data

The recent departure of Google’s Head Designer, Doug Bowman, has sparked a flurry of debate across the internet on Google’s design philosophy.

Google’s ability to efficiently harness information has been central to its success as a search engine.

However, there are question marks over whether an over-reliance on data in design has hampered Google’s visual identity and ultimately its ability to create a brand that people will pay for.