Vodafone Pug: Then, now, and forever

Sarmistha Neogy
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Vodafone Pug Campaign

Social Samosa takes a look at the milestones in the journey of the Vodafone Pug Campaign and as the brand got back the pug every time a new announcement was on the way.

Telecom operator Vodafone India is back with its all time favourite mascot-pug in its latest campaign, Stronger Together which talks about providing a data strong and seamless network experience to its customers. This also marks the first campaign from the brand in 2018.

Stronger Together features a full army of pugs (30 to be precise) running behind a young boy through different locations, signifying the strong 4G network. It also goes on to highlight that Vodafone has been adding a tower every hour to improve connectivity for its over 211 million customers.

publive-imageCommenting on the new campaign, Siddharth Banerjee- Executive Vice President, Marketing, Vodafone India, said “From the early 2000s, our Pug has always been associated with Hutch and then Vodafone’s reliable network. The new campaign #StrongerTogether highlights our continued commitment to providing a world class network experience and we are delighted to present Cheeka and friends to our generation of customers in India. We hope people like the evolution of the “Network That Follows You” to the refreshed thought of The Data Strong Network which always Follows You”


Also Read:  A walk through Vodafone’s Social Media Command Center


Ogilvy & Mather's Mahesh V and Rajeev Rao have been the creative brain behind all the pug cuteness we have received over the years.

Commenting on the creative aspect, Kiran Antony, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather, said, “Refreshing icons is always difficult. People still remember our first boy & dog ad and even the line ‘wherever you go, our network follows’. The challenge was to convey the new network proposition, ‘we are getting stronger’, while retaining the simplicity and charm of our most loved asset.”

Social Samosa takes a look at the milestones in the journey of the Vodafone Pug Campaign and as the brand got back the pug every time a new announcement was on the way.

Launch of the mascot - Pug (2003)

In 2003, Cheeka, the pug first appeared in "You & I" advertising campaign of Hutchinson Essar's cellular service in India. The ad showed the dog following the boy in unlikely locations, prompting the tagline, "Wherever you go, our network follows."

The campaign was created by (the late) Mahesh V. and Rajiv Rao, senior creative directors at Ogilvy and Mather, Mumbai, at the time. Instantly, the pug became very famous and worked really well not only for the brand, but also for the breed. According to reports, following the campaign, there was a surge in the popularity of pugs in India.

Customer care (2008)

In 2008,  the brand released an ad featuring the pug to talk about the brand's customer care service. The intension of the communication was to highlight that Vodafone is there to take care of all the customer doubts and queries and they can be reached anytime.

The message was conveyed with the help of two cute stories - a little girl on a school bus suddenly realising that her tie is missing and in the next shot we see the pug running behind the bus with the tie. In another TVC, the pug is licking postage stamps for the little girl before she pastes them on envelopes.

Instant Connection (2012)

In 2012, the Vodafone pug campaign showed Cheeka helping a young boy meet a girl to promote the message of ‘instant connections on Vodafone’.

To launch Vodafone SuperNet 4G (2016)

To launch SuperNet 4G, Vodafone India returned with their favourite mascot. It was a great decision taken by the brand at that point as Airtel had a first mover advantage in the 4G market and was the talk of the twon with ads featuring Sasha Chettri. She was trolled left, right and centre on the internet and became an online sensation in no time. Even though, the negative comments weighed more, there was enough noise on social media about Airtel 4G and Sasha became synonymous with the  brand as the Airtel Girl.

Vodafone on the other hand, was well aware of its competition, so they named their 4G service as SuperNet and as part of the launch phase used the pug to talk about the network's 4G connection.

Also Read: Sr Bachchan, Vodafone, and Reliance Jio: A Twitter tale

Vodafone's tryst with the pug is an example of how a simple idea if executed well can amass huge popularity and benefit the brand.

It has always been a challenge for the brand and the agency to present the pug in a refreshing manner through different situations and stories. It has been over 15 years and Vodafone has managed to create a brand property that gives back in every sense.

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