O2's Bubl mascot forms army to tackle data poverty in Christmas spot

The ad was developed by VCCP London.

O2: ad shows Bubl 'army' as it sets out to 'connect the disconnected'
O2: ad shows Bubl 'army' as it sets out to 'connect the disconnected'

O2 has launched its Christmas campaign, which becomes its second to date to focus on data poverty in the UK.

Developed by VCCP London, the ad shows O2’s Bubl mascot transformed into a Bubl army. Once assembled, the Bubl masses learn that 1.5 million homes in the UK are not connected to the internet.

Gasps are heard, and one Bubl faints on the spot. But soon, the Bubl army sets out to “connect the disconnected” as its leader reminds them that without the internet, people cannot learn, bank online, or video call distant family members at Christmas.

Dispatched James Bond-style, the Bubls infiltrate homes across the UK, hopping and shimmying into homes with their bubbles of data. With slightly less grace than the suave spy, they still manage to connect those who need it, and the ad ends with O2’s strapline: “We’re better, connected.”

Simon Valcarcel, marketing director at O2, Virgin Mobile & Virgin Media O2, said the brand had to tread a careful line between sparking interest, “glamourising poverty” and encouraging people to give.

Speaking to Campaign, he added: “The first thing you have to do with advertising is cut through and make people notice. We feel the best way to do that is to use our mascot Bubl to highlight the issue and to encourage people to join O2 at Christmas and hopefully build the data bank up.

"It doesn't really feel right to be talking about gifting, particularly this year. A lot of other ads come out to promote gifting, but the data bank partnership that we've got just feels like the right thing for our business.

“It's really connected with what we offer and what we do. And we feel very passionately about connecting the disconnected, and what better time to talk about it than at Christmas, and actually use the period of Christmas to drive that extra data into the bank and make it a long-term thing.”

Jim Capp, creative director at VCCP London, said: “Over the last 18 months in particular the internet has kept many of us connected to friends, family, entertainment and work.

“With Christmas being a time when connection is more important than ever, we’re proud that this campaign is supporting the National Databank in donating data to those who need it. That’s the true spirit of Christmas in my eyes.”

The spot will premiere on TV during Gogglebox on Channel 4 tonight (12 November). Media has been planned and bought by Havas Media, with the spot also airing on ITV and Sky.

The TV ad will be supported by social media ads across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and an augmented reality feature in Snapchat.

The National Databank will be rolled out from today by Virgin Media O2 and Good Things Foundation. It provides a hub for community groups to access free data voucher codes and SIM cards.

For every plan purchased between 1 November and 31 January, Virgin Media O2 will donate 10GB of data.

This article first appeared in Campaign.

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