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Woof in Advertising: Running of the bulldogs

The way they saturate the market, it’s easy to get tired of car insurance ads.

They’ve always tended to air over and over again, until — as imaginative as they might be — we become sick of them.

Perhaps you too have fallen victim to seeing a little too much of the Progressive spokeswoman, or, as I call it, a Floverdose.

Similarly, GEICO’s gecko, cute at first, quickly began grating on my nerves.

woof in advertisingAll this culminates, or at least it does for me, in coming to the decision that I’m not going to be a customer — because their ads annoy me (and because, as much as they spend on advertising, it, somehow, has to be costing me.)

Pretty much every insurance company claims it can save you money — that their rates will save you $318, $412, $562 a year over their competitors — and we all know there’s no way that can be true.

So I no longer look for or expect truth in advertising from car insurance companies; instead I merely expect their commercials to either make me laugh or make me warm and tingly inside — at least until I’ve seen it 20 times.

This new ad from GEICO manages to do both. It’s funny, it’s timely, and it has dogs. Lots of dogs.

On top of that, it’s fresh. The key to keeping viewers from overdosing on a company’s ads is to change them up, which GEICO — though I can’t speak for its insurance — seems to do better than any of the insurance providers.

Their advertising agencies come up with new concepts (otherwise we’d still be watching those cavemen), and provide plenty of variations on continuing themes.

This one, by the Martin Agency, is part of the “what’s not surprising” series. It depicts what looks like is going to be the running of the bulls, but the animals that come charging around the corner in pursuit of the runners are bulldogs.

“The running of the Bulldogs? Surprising. What’s not surprising? How much money Aleia saved by switching to GEICO.”

The actual running of the bulls began earlier this month, ending July 14 at this year’s San Fermin festival in the northern Spanish city of Pamplona.

(This link will lead you to more of our Woof in Advertising posts)


Comment from cyndi
Time July 17, 2017 at 3:11 pm

As a dog knowledgeable dog person, I expect more of you. this is not cute or funny.

CRUFFA The Campaign for the Responsible Use of Flat-Faced Animals (CRUFFA) was born out of concern over the increasing use of Pugs, Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and other ‘brachycephalic’ breeds used in advertising, marketing and the media – especially the use of more exaggerated examples of these breeds. This of course reflects their current popularity – but also helps fuel demand.

While many people find flat-faced breeds cute, you will be aware they can suffer from health problems as a direct result of having been bred with a very short muzzle/wrinkling.

CRUFFA does not seek to ban the use of images of Pugs, Bulldogs and French Bulldogs in the media; preferring to educate, suggest alternatives and to promote the use of a healthier phenotype – e.g Pugs, Frenchies and Bulldogs that have good eyes, less wrinkling, wide-open nostrils and are not overweight.

We believe that the use of more moderate dogs in the media/advertising/marketing will help influence the popular “template” for the breed, increasing the demand for less-exaggerated dogs. Our sincere hope is that this will lead to improved quality of life for these breeds.


Comment from Miss Jan
Time July 18, 2017 at 2:00 am

John, as America is all and only about consumerism and the almighty dollar, then you must realize that advertising is the Great American Art Form and enjoy the entertainment for what it’s worth (or toss overaged fruit at it – I am in agreement with you about Floverdose). This commercial (sorry, Cyndi!) ranks right up there in my humor score with the Swiffer commercial (hair cut, to Barber of Seville – that one got so much bashing from those who didn’t “get” it I’m surprised they keep running the ad!

Sadly, Cyndi, most people in this country are so shallow and wallowing so deeply in pop culture that any breed of dog shown in a movie, tv show or commercial these days that is appealing at all, a year down the road is going to be overpopulating shelters and purebred dog rescues. It is a symptom of the pathetically sophomoric thinking of most inhabitants of this sick, throwaway society. A few years ago it was Chihuahuas. Before that, Jack Russells (those of us who worked in JRT rescue worked desperately hard to find responsible, thoughtful, intelligent homes for this difficult-to-place breed). I’m trying these days to talk my co-worker OUT of getting a Frenchie – what she wants is something resembling a “miniature boxer” because she loved the boxer she had as a kid but doesn’t want “anything bigger than 20 pounds” and figures a Frenchie is close enough. She has no clue, and couldn’t care less, about the breathing issues and hair/skin issues the brachy breeds have (and I’m including cats in that too, today’s Persians are an abomination). She just wants something that “looks like” a miniature boxer.

Moral of the story is, you can try to educate til you’re blue in the face from effort but for the deliberately ignorant it’s just so much hot air. I don’t have any answers but can tell you that forbidding cute commercials is simply not going to work. Remember the “success” of Prohibition? Just sayin’.