“Everyone loves their Nest Dropcam,” reads the tagline of this ad. “Except this dog.”
And can you blame him? Not only can Henry be spied upon by the spiffy little wifi camera, but his owners — be they at work, out on the town or away on vacation — can also verbally reprimand him if they see him misbehaving, through the Dropcam’s “Two-way Talk” feature:
“Henry! … Bad boy!”
“If you’re like me, there’s nothing you enjoy more than hopping up on a couch, destroying a few pillows or chewing on a good shoe. So this new Nest Dropcam is a serious buzz kill. It’s always watching so people can keep an eye on me when they’re away and even chime in with their inane reprimands … Who’s to say who’s a bad boy and who’s not? It seems so subjective if you ask me.”
In real life, I doubt dogs even notice when a cam is spying on them — unless the dog’s human is using the device’s talking feature to reprimand, praise or otherwise confuse the canine from afar, which strikes me as more of a harassing moment than a teaching one.
What do dogs make of that familiar-sounding, yet disembodied voice?
In real life, I’d bet there are people who hate the Nest Dropcam much more than dogs do. Maids, nannies and visiting dogwalkers might have a problem with it, too — especially if they’re unaware it’s pointed at them, or of it’s eavesdropping abilities, or if they suddenly find themselves receiving orders through it.
Whatever happened to the right to face one’s accuser?
While this ad is aimed at dog owners, the cams are being more heavily marketed as security tools, or as yet another component of a “smart home” system that can help you remotely control your thermostat, DVR, lights, alarms, cooking devices, etc.
Among the concerns some folks have about such systems are what data they might be collecting, and with whom they might be sharing it.
Google acquired Nest, a home automation company, for $3.2 billion in January, but maybe it is wrong to read anything into that.
I’m not sure I’d want my home powered by Google, managed by Google or monitored by Google. For that matter, I’m not sure I’d even want a smart home. I don’t want my house to be able to outwit me — and if you put a computer in charge of it, you know that’s exactly what the device will teach the home.
“John,” the computer would say to me through the Dropcam, or one of it’s other audio outlets, “Get your feet off the couch.”
“But we discussed this and decided it would be OK,” I’d counter.
“I can only grant an exception if you provide the special 25-character passcode,” the computer would remind me.
“But I’ve forgotten it.”
“Then get your feet off the couch.”
I would not obey the Dropcam, and wouldn’t expect my dog to, either.
It is, after all, our home. And as living, breathing, thinking creatures, we are in charge, not the machines – at least up until the moment the smart home has the telephone call a locksmith to change the locks.
(You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts — about how marketers use dogs in advertising — here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek December 4th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertisement, animals, cameras, cams, commercial, dogs, dogs in advertising, dropcam, google, henry, media, nest, pets, smart homes, streaming, technology, two-way talk, wifi, woof in advertising
“First Kiss,” a video of strangers kissing, has become an Internet sensation.
Like a lot of Internet sensations, it’s kind of stupid, mostly staged, and less than fully honest.
But that hasn’t kept it from being shared by millions, and becoming — in less than a week — the subject of many video parodies, including a dog version we’ll show you in a minute.
It was just last week that “First Kiss” appeared on the Internet, showing, or so it appeared, newly introduced couples — after much foot-shuffling and awkwardness — locking lips on camera.
It garnered more than 30 million views in less than three days, and many viewers, based on comments, found it sweet and heartwarming, almost pure, in a tongue-sucking kind of way.
Director Tatia Pilieva posted the short film on YouTube on March 10, with little explanation. The post didn’t clearly point out the film was an advertisement for a clothing brand’s 2014 line, but said only: ”We asked twenty strangers to kiss for the first time.”
It was a couple of days later that WREN, a Los Angeles womenswear brand, admitted on Twitter that the video was an advertisement, and most of its kissers were actors and models.
Some bloggers went so far to ask if that constituted a “hoax.” Others viewed it as a legitimate “filmvertisement,” and its makers explained they were just trying to make something artistic and interesting.
“We make these fashion films every season,” said WREN founder Melissa Coker. “I strive to make them an interesting film that exists on its own rather than something that feels like a commercial, and it seems to be touching people — not only people who are in fashion and would see this, but also random guys who aren’t connected at all.”
That apparently left some feeling a bit manipulated.
“Knowing it’s an ad is initially forgivable until you realize that the majority of the people kissing are actors and models,” commented a blogger on the website Fstoppers. “Then the veil of whimsy is gone and all that’s left is another well planned, viral advertisement and our suspension of disbelief.”
We wouldn’t go so far as to call “First Kiss” a hoax, and sneaky advertising isn’t anything new. While television, radio and newspapers are all pretty good at passing off advertising as editorial content these days, the Internet makes it simpler than ever — both to disguise advertising and get it published or broadcast for free.
The Internet can also take credit for a rebirth in parodies, many of which have been made of “First Kiss” already — some in better taste than others.
Our favorite, of course, is “First Sniff,” the doggie version, produced by another ad agency, Mother London. Even though it’s staged, its actors aren’t acting — just being their butt-sniffing selves.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 17th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertisement, advertising, animals, butt, clothing, dogs, film, filmvertisement, first, first kiss, first sniff, internet sensation, kiss, kissing, kissing dogs, line, marketing, melissa coker, parodies, parody, people, pets, sniffing, tatia pilieva, video, viral, womenswear, wren
If there are two things that melt the average American’s heart, they are dogs and returning soldiers.
Put them together — as in a soldier coming home and reuniting with his or her dog — and you have a slam dunk in terms of public appeal, as the plethora of real videos of that on YouTube, and the number of views they’ve received, attest.
This one, despite what many viewers think, isn’t real, but a staged presentation aimed at selling Iams dog food.
“Rocky the dog didn’t know why Dawn was gone for so long,” the commercial tells us. “But when she showed up in military camoflouge, he was there ready to greet her with the biggest welcome home. So, to keep Rocky strong and healthy, Dawn chooses Iams dog food.”
The ad features a magnificent Irish Wolfhound (whose real name is Monster) and his real owner, named Andrea. But it’s not capturing a real reunion. (Search YouTube for “dog” and “soldier” and “reunion” and you can find plenty of those.)
Before airing it on television, Procter & Gamble unveiled the ad, and others in its “Keep Love Strong” series, on Facebook, to let viewers share, like and comment on them.
The campaign, which started airing late last year, was created by the New York firm of Saatchi & Saatchi and showcases “the important role premium nutrition like Iams plays in keeping a dog or cat’s body as strong as their love.”
“At Iams, we trust our fans and value their opinions a great deal, so we wanted to give them an opportunity to participate in choosing our next commercial,” Iams brand general manager Ondrea Francy said in a press release about the ”Keep Love Strong” campaign. “…One of the most exciting things about our new campaign is that it was all inspired by real stories of unconditional love.”
Despite all that trust they have for us, Procter & Gamble didn’t go out of its way to point out that the commercial was made with actors, as opposed to depicting a real returning vet reuniting with their pet, leaving the issue subject to debate among online commenters.
Reading through the comments about the ad on YouTube, most seem to be from those smitten by the dog, and many are from viewers pointing out the ad made them cry.
One commenter insists he looked it up and determined that it was made with a real video of a dog and returning soldier. (Here’s some proof it wasn’t.)
Mostly, the ad is praised, but some question whether it’s using the military to sell dog food: “You’re doing a disservice to service members like my husband who wear the uniform PROUDLY,” said one.
Maybe, but the fact of the matter is that patriotism – like dogs, catchy tunes, scantily clad models and talking babies — can be a powerful sales tool, and not too much is out of bounds these days when it comes to advertising, including shamelessly blatant heartstring tugging.
That doesn’t mean (this being a free country, where we can speak our minds and buy the dog food of our choice) that we can’t criticize or pick nits.
Some commenters point out that the generic camouflage uniform worn by the “soldier” doesn’t pass muster.
“This is not real. She has no rank or anything on her uniform. No flag, no unit patch and her hair (is) completely wrong! This is probably a really well trained dog but she is not a real soldier … And she’s wearing Air Force boots with an army uniform! This would never fly in the military.”
A couple of commenters make the point that a dog as tall as an Irish Wolfhound should not be eating out of a bowl on the floor, but from a raised feeder: “You’d think the DOG FOOD company would know that…”
A handful of viewers seemed concerned, instead, that the dog and returning soldier are getting a little too intimate.
That was also the viewpoint of a post on the blog, Why I Hate Dogs, whose author says the ad “veers into the bestiality zone…”
“It shows a woman dressed in military fatigues, apparently just back from deployment somewhere. She is seen inside the house gushing over her huge Irish wolfhound (Russian wolfhound?), and walks outside, where she proceeds to lie flat on her back on the driveway, while the dog lowers itself on top of her, its legs splayed. The genital areas match up. Yes, it looks like this man-sized dog is having sex with her.”
How do you spell “Geesh?” (Is it two “E’s” or three — as in “geeesh” — and if so, might those naugbhty vowels be having an illicit threesome?)
As for me, it’s not the canine-human genital proximity that’s of concern, or the fact that the soldier’s uniform does or does not meet specs.
It’s that people don’t know whether the reunion video is real or staged. Some commenters, with whom I’d disagree, wrote that, as long as we are touched by it, that doesn’t matter.
Maybe I just need new glasses, but the line between truth and fiction seems to be getting awfully blurry these days. It doesn’t serve us well. And it would seem to me that it wouldn’t serve the dog food company well, either. If we don’t know whether the company is showing us a real event, or a staged generic re-creation, might we also wonder about how true the advertisement’s claims are, and how nutritious their product really is?
What is clear is this: Advertisers, while they may have a hard time finding unconditional love, are quick to seize upon the theme — especially if it might sell some dog food.
(“Woof in Advertising” is an occasional ohmidog! feature that looks at how dogs are used to sell stuff.)
Posted by John Woestendiek November 8th, 2013 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertisement, advertising, air force, animals, army, commercial, commercials, dawn, dog food, dogs in advertising, iams, irish wolfhound, marines, marketing, media, navy, pets, procter & gamble, returning, reunion, reunions, rocky, saatchi & saatchi, soldier, television, unspoken, veteran, welcome home, woof in advertising
Overwhelmed with cats, the Winnipeg Humane Society put together this hilarious appeal — a spoof of the kind of tacky, hyperbolic, low-budget ad anyone who watches late night TV is familiar with.
The shelter found a willing narrator in Andy Hill, the son of Nick Hill, whose was famed for his local furniture store ads in the 1980s, reports Yahoo’s Daily Brew. Nick Hill, who died in 2003, appeared in the ads for Kern-Hill Furniture wearing a 10-gallon hat urging customers to “C’mon Down!”
“Looks like someone left the kitty machine on overnight, and now we have a cat-astrophe on our hands,” Andy Hill says in the ad for a “Kitty Midnight Madness” sale.
Hill touts “Girl cats! Boy cats! Used-to-be boy cats! … Calico cats, Siamese cats, short-hair cats, long-hair cats, no-hair cats, bad-hair cats, spotted cats, striped cats, black cats and white cats.” He even suggests a “lazy cat to cover up that hole in the couch,” and promises “if we can’t find you a cat you love, we’ll give you a (bleepin’) dog!”
“You can’t beat these prices folks, so c’mon down.”
Posted by John Woestendiek March 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, adopt, adoption, advertisement, andy hill, animals, c'mon down, canada, cats, felines, funny, furniture, hucksters, humor, kern hill, kitties, kitty midnight madness, nick hill, pets, shelter, spoof, television, tv, video, winnipeg humane society
PETA, knowing better than most how much cute and fuzzy things appeal to the public, has tapped Justin Bieber to start in his second public service announcement for the organization.
According to PETA, Bieber wants his fans to know that buying a dog or a cat from a pet store or a breeder takes a home away from a shelter animal, 3 to 4 million of which end up euthanized in America each year. Buying a dog, PETA says, supports puppy mills, operations in which dogs are raised in cramped, crude, and filthy conditions.
While preparing for the release of his debut album, My World, Bieber devoted some time to talk to peta2 about compassion for animals — something he says his dog Sam helped instill in him. ”We moved to a city where we didn’t really know anybody, so I kinda wanted a friend around. And Sam was kinda like that friend.”
Bieber appears not with Sam, but with a dog named Bijoux in the newest PETA spot.
“It’s really important that people adopt,” Bieber says. “I really encourage going out to an animal shelter or a place where you can get a dog that has been abandoned or doesn’t have a home.”
You can learn more about Justin Bieber and his public service announcement at peta2.com
Posted by John Woestendiek January 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ad, adopt, adopt don't buy, adoption, advertisement, animals, bieber, bijoux, breeders, breeding, buying, cats, compassion, dog, dogs, don't buy, euthanasia, euthanized, justin, justin bieber, music, pet stores, peta, peta2, pets, pop, psa, public service announcement, puppy mills, rescue, sam, shelters, star
Wait a minute, aren’t footballs made of pigskin?
Actually, no. They were intitially made with pig bladders, but those days are long gone. They are still made with leather, though, and an estimated 35,000 cowhides a year are used to make NFL footballs, according to a New York Times blog.
Of course, those 35,000 cows aren’t slaughtered to make footballs, but they are slaughtered to make meat, with their hides then being used to make footballs.
Probably, if one wanted to try hard enough, they could find some hypocrisy here, especially considering the tagline of the new PETA ad is, “Ink Not Mink: Be comfortable in your own skin and let animals keep theirs.” On top of that, probably even more cowhides are used to make official NFL leather jackets.
Then again, given Ochocinco’s admirable abs, and the fact that a football is the only thing covering his privates, I doubt the focus of most people will be on such a teeny tiny possible double standard as this: Killing animals for their skin is wrong, but separating dead animals, killed for other purposes, from their skin is OK?
Given the ill will between the NFL and much of the animal welfare community — especially after convicted dogfighter Michael Vick was invited back to the league — Ochocinco’s public service ad is still a huge step, unless you’re a cow, in the right direction.
“To tell you the truth, when I was younger growing up, I thought it was all fake … they didn’t really kill animals,” Ochocinco says in the ad. When he found out how animals are killed for their skins, “he really wanted to become a part of this campaign,” PETA says. “Animals killed for their fur endure tremendous pain and suffering before being turned into coats, hats or used as fur trim. Foxes, minks, rabbits even dogs and cats are bludgeoned, stomped, electrocuted, and gassed to death. and sometimes skinned while alive.”
Ochocinco, PETA notes, is “known for making superstar plays on—and off—the field. He hosts a football show with fellow Bengals teammate Terrell Owens called the T. Ocho Show and has set multiple franchise records for the team. He charmed viewers on season 10 of Dancing With the Stars and captured the hearts of lucky ladies on his own VH1 dating show The Ultimate Catch. This NFL legend is everywhere…and is now showing off everything! Chad, an avid animal lover, posed nude for PETA’s iconic ‘Ink, Not Mink’ campaign to protest the cruel fur industry and prove that he’d rather go naked than wear fur.”
You can back Chad’s new cause by signing a PETA petition.
Posted by John Woestendiek December 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ad, advertisement, animal welfare, animals, chad ochocinco, cincinnati bengals, cowhide, football, footballs, fur, ink not mink, leather, national football league, nfl, ochocinco, people for the ethical treatment of animals, peta, petition, pigskin, public service annoucement, skin, wide receiver
Remember the old Chevrolet commercial — baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet?
Well, decades later, the car company has, for the sake of selling motor vehicles, gotten around to acknowledging another piece of Americana — the dog; specifically, the dog in the pickup truck; more specifically, the dog in a Chevrolet pickup.
And that, they will find out as the new ad airs, if they haven’t yet, is some tricky ground.
It’s one of those topics that raises the hackles of animal welfare activists, some of whom who say under no conditions should a dog be riding in the bed of a pickup , some of whom say it’s acceptable if the dog is crated or restrained, all of whom say riding in the cab would be preferable.
And they are right. For safety’s sake, it probably would be.
Last week, in “Travels with Ace,” the continuing saga of the trip Ace and I are taking across America, we showed you Jake, a golden retriever in Oregon still sporting injuries he received when he tumbled out the back of a moving pickup. We did so without casting judgments or getting preachy, because our road trip is not about how dogs should live in America, only about how they do live in America.
In much of rural America, dogs are still dogs. They roam their property, and perhaps that of other’s, at their will. They chase and sometimes kill wildlife. Some even live, gasp, outside. And they ride in the back of pickups, which virtually all animal welfare organizations will tell you is a bad idea.
The Chevy ad, to its credit, doesn’t show any dogs in the beds of moving pickups, but, even so, I’m predicting it will lead to some lively debate if it airs widely.
On YouTube, it has already started — through Internet comments, gracious and civil as always.
“Cute video, but I wish Chevy wouldn’t advocate the dogs in the back unless in a crate. Since I have seen a dog fly out of the back of a truck on a busy highway, I am traumatized for life. It should be illegal and is some places for your dog to ride loose in the bed of your truck unless you are on your own dirt road on your property with no other cars around and are willing to pay the vet bill if your dog falls out…”
“If I thought for a second my dog would ever jump out, he wouldn’t ride back there. And he doesn’t on the interstate. But on going into town, on rural country roads, and on my ranch, he will always ride in the back and he wouldn’ t have it any other way. MIND YOUR OWN F***ING BUSINESS FAG…”
“Greatest commercial! Too bad liberal know it all’s have created laws against dogs riding in truck beds! Apparently (like most libs) they know what’s best for us, and will make laws accordingly. My dog will ride in the back forever though, they can suck his hairy nuts…”
Besides reflecting how crass anonymous internet banter can get — how Internet commenting has replaced the punching bag as man’s default mode of venting hostilities — the discourse shows the cultural divide that exists in this country, one that’s not so much conservative versus liberal as it is rural America versus the rest.
It’s a generalization, but many denizens of rural America don’t want the rest of America making rules that govern their access to firearms, or how they raise their dogs — from whether they spay and neuter to letting them ride in the back of pickups.
There’s something to be said for letting a dog being a dog — as opposed to spending life on a leash or in a handbag – but is putting Rover in the back of a pickup letting a dog be a dog? In my view, it’s courting disaster.
Yet, while many experts also advise that dogs in cars be crated or restrained, Ace is traveling acoss the country unrestrained in the back of my Jeep.
Maybe that’s why I don’t come down harder on dogs in pickups; maybe it’s a degree of respect for rural ways; or maybe it’s because the surest way to make people become more entrenched in a bad habit is to tell them they can’t do it anymore.
Posted by John Woestendiek November 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accidents, advertisement, america, animals, back, bed, chevrolet, chevy, correct, culture, danger, divide, dog, dogs, hazard, injuries, jake, pawlitics, pets, pick-up, pickup, politics, riding, rural, transport, travel, traveling with dogs, truck, trucks