Dogs do the darndest things

Tell me you’ve seen the video of Otto the skateboarding Bulldog? What a guy! Isn’t this the type of video the Internet, and particularly social media, was made for? Okay, maybe not entirely, but the rise of social platforms like Facebook and YouTube have certainly provided the opportunity for pet lovers to broadcast their furry friends to the world.

A survey, highlighted in the Telegraph back in 2014, suggested that almost one in four dogs and cats now have their very own social media feed or page. But why is it that people love to post and view pictures and videos of animals online? It’s simple; their popularity is an extension of the affection we hold for them in real life.

Kelly Hepworth, creator and editor of Urban Pooch Magazine, said,

“I think it’s fair to say that most self-confessed ‘dog people’ like dogs just as much — if not more — than they like people”.

With this in mind; when mortgage broker Coreco told us they wanted to help customers who forget the necessary paperwork for their mortgage application, we knew just what to do. We suggested creating a funny video to form the basis of a social media campaign featuring, you guessed it, a dog! The video would then lead viewers to a content hub filled with information on exactly what is required for a successful mortgage application. This, as you’d expect, would include some pretty dry content, so, what better way to draw attention to it?

Despite the serious message Coreco wanted to convey, our creative intuition suggested it’d be a good idea to ensure the video was primarily funny and engaging. After all, why should a humorous creative concept be ditched in favour of a more conservative, rational approach?

An entertainment direction was certainly a risk: some people queried if it’d be taken seriously, or if people hunting for mortgages would appreciate the entertainment factor. Fair questions, yes, but we’ve long understood the importance of emotive engagement and how this, in turn, can influence a consumer’s actions.

Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, consumer and business psychologist at University College London, said, “humour creates a positive association to a brand, plus it taps into a younger market who are used to high levels of entertainment”.

As vindication to this approach, we took a look at other historic mortgage advertising campaigns for large banks that added elements of humour to their content. Enlisting the help of celebrities to form positive associations with their brands, Santander’s advert featured Formula One racing driver Jenson Button while Nationwide’s annoying bank manager advert starred actor Mark Benton. Both were incredibly popular and in our opinion, affirmed that using humour to sell mortgage products does indeed work. Looking away from traditional mortgage adverts, part of the inspiration behind our creation came from Virgin Radio’s 2010 TV advert, which included a dog — and (cough) fake dog legs.

Once we’d made the video, the next challenge was to try (with some luck) to get the kind of coverage Otto the skateboarding bulldog did! Without a TV-size ad budget, we focused our push on social media and the communities of mortgage hunters and dog lovers. Once it began to rack up views and engagement, it was picked up by industry press, and within days, we were making waves in the mortgage market.

How incredibly fun it was to be creative in this sector and help people through social media. I suppose it does have its benefits beyond videos of cute dogs doing the darndest things. And of course, props to Coreco for being brave enough to run with and support our idea. See? We aren’t barking mad!

Originally published at