O2 Throws It Back to the 2000s With Flash Mob Starring Pop Band Steps

The U.K. telecom provider is promoting a retro flip phone that has modern features

Nostalgia has long been a popular tool of marketers. U.K. telecom provider O2 is the latest brand to lean into this trend, partnering with early aughts pop band Steps to stage a surprise flash mob.

O2’s campaign is for the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 foldable phone, which has the retro look of a flip phone but with updated features such as hands-free selfies and split screen. To match the throwback nature of the device, ad agency VCCP enlisted Steps to put on a surprise flash mob-style dance in The O2 arena in London.

In an echo of popular TikTok videos of dance routines, the team created an ad that documents the performance. It opens with a dancer setting up his phone in the arena to film a routine to Steps’ hit track, “Deeper Shade of Blue,” which was remixed for the campaign.

As the song continues, additional dancers join the first man and slowly build the flash mob. Even O2’s Bubl, its blue robot mascot, makes an appearance by dancing on a digital screen.

A security guard tries unsuccessfully to shut down the routine, but as the crowd grows, the members of Steps finally join in and help the flash mob reach its crescendo with the pop band’s signature choreography.

During the performance, the dancers also demonstrate features of the new phone. The ad ends with the tagline: “Noughties just got an upgrade. Get the iconic Galaxy Z Flip3 on O2.”


Noughties nostalgia

The campaign’s target audience is millennials, many of whom would have come of age during the 2000s. It will run across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok in the U.K. for the next three weeks. Steps members, as well as TikTok creators including Tega Alexander, Izzi de Rosa, Francesca Perks and dance choreographer Cruze Philip, will also promote the campaign on their social channels.

“When we first had a chance to play with the new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3, it took us straight back to the early noughties, when flip phones and pop dance moves were the norm. So, building on these nostalgic feelings and the current TikTok dance trend, it felt natural to create a surprise flash mob featuring the iconic band Steps to demonstrate the modernized features of Samsung’s latest flip phone,” Aurélien Pakula-Rayssac-Baures, associate creative director at VCCP London, said in a statement.


Client: O2

Marketing Director of O2, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Media O2: Simon Valcarcel
Marcomms Manager (Consumer): Zain Hameed 
Content Manager: Vicky Hamilton 
Head of Content Production and Editorial: James Steel 
Senior Content Production Manager: Olivia Wellings
Advertising Agency: VCCP
Head of Social and Influence: Nicky Palamarczuk
Associate Creative Director: Aurelien Pakula
Business Director: Kate Fitzgerald 
Senior Account Director: Allana Isaacs
Account Manager: Nellie Day
Planning Director: Rob Estreitinho
Social & Influence Manager: Bea Mustocea
Media Buying Agency: Havas
Media Planners: Krista Campbell, Kirsty Stent
Production Company: Girl & Bear
Executive Head of Production: Anthony Austin
Producer: Suki Fraser
Production Assistant: Hope Sutherland
Editor: Orlando Cubitt