How Škoda Turned a Big Idea into a Viral Video

This week, Czech car company Škoda unveiled a new video ad featuring ‘Doug the Dog,’ a giant sheep dog just trying to live his larger-than life as a dog that weighs one ton. In short, it’s adorable.

Doing normal things a dog would do, the video shows Doug accompanying his owner on walks, chilling on a couch that he accidentally breaks while watching TV at home, and shaking off when he gets wet, accidentally drenching his poor best friend in an onslaught of water.

Škoda worked with the creative agency Rosapark to bring the concept of a one-ton dog to life, creating Doug as a Clifford the Big Red Dog-inspired giant beast. It’s a pretty genius premise to illustrate their larger point: that in the event of an accident, a dog without a seatbelt can become a one-ton projectile at just 31 miles over the speed limit!

A little known fact, this ad doubles as an awareness campaign as well as a pitch for Škoda’s new dog seat belt product. Since most cars don’t come with seatbelts specific for dogs, most owners don’t restrain their dogs. According to AAA, only 16 percent of dog owners actually buckle their dogs in when going for a drive.

Besides beginning to buckle up your dogs, what can you learn from this video? Three things:

1. Metaphor is still a powerful storytelling tool.

Doug the dog is a cute idea with a powerful message. He isn’t just a digitally enhanced giant for a one-off laugh, but for a deeper reason. By actually making Doug look the size of a dog that would weigh one ton, Škoda got their point across without ever having to show a dog flying through the air mid-accident, which would have been far less tasteful or endearing.

Think about how you can you create a similar visual metaphor for your own next product launch. Is there a deeper meaning or purpose behind why you’re creating and selling this particular item or service? Dig down and dive deep (but only if there’s actually something there).

2. Grab their attention early with an absurd visual.

Because of the reality of video autoplay features and social media scrollers, so much emphasis is put on making your point as quickly as possible in your video. In this video, Škoda introduced the oversized Doug at just 7 seconds in, but before we ever laid eyes on Doug’s adorable mug, we met a little scrappy brown dog around the four-second mark as our point-of-view character.

Of course, after seeing Doug rounding the neighborhood, he runs off with a whine, but from there on, our attention is hooked by this giant dog and we have so many follow-up questions!

3. Sometimes it’s better to end on your message to leave an impression.

Škoda could have opened with the quote about dogs becoming one-ton projectiles before we ever laid eyes on Doug, but they didn’t need to. Doug was an immediate hook. Instead, they chose their message as a pay-off to Doug’s outlandish size and adorable antics, and left a stronger impression on the audience because of it.

Sometimes you can hold off on making your point until the end of the video. In the same way you save the call to action to the end, how can you use the rest of your video to plant the seed of an idea that can be paid off by the “why” of your product or service?

Bonus lesson – work with an agency!

As mentioned above, Škoda worked with a creative agency to develop and produce this idea. You don’t have to do it all yourself; if you ever want to team up with a high-quality, affordable video production agency, reach out! Creative agencies often have resources not available to smaller companies, like special effects and graphics editors who can make a crazy-sounding idea come to life beautifully.

Grant Harvey

Grant Harvey