I base this report mostly on advertisements shown during the first half of last night’s Super Bowl — for I began to tire during Madonna’s BRIDGESTONE halftime show.
In the first half of the game, I kept track of ads, and according to my tally — and in accordance with my predictions — dogs were theme No. 1 in this year’s Big Game commercials, topping that perennial favorite, sex.
By halftime, we’d seen the controversial SKECHERS greyhound racing ad — mildly funny, at best — VOLKSWAGEN’S “Bark Side” and a DORITO ad featuring a Great Dane (above) who gives his owner some chips to buy his silence regarding the family cat’s mysterious disappearance.
Dogs played smaller supporting roles in two other ads by then, so at halftime I had it scored this way:
Dogs five, Sex three.
While sex seemed to be gaining in the second half, it scored only three times in the first, with GO DADDY’S body painting bit, David Beckham promoting either underpants or himself (I’m still not sure), and an ad featuring model Adriana Lima for the flower delivery outfit, TELEFLORA. Lima, once she is dressed, explains to us that, on Valentine’s Day, and perhaps all other days, men must give to “receive.”
Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.
To me, that one was far more offensive than the Skechers ad, which an anti-greyhound racing group was protesting because it was filmed at a greyhound park with a poor safety record, and because they thought it would glorify a sport it finds cruel to animals.
In it, Mr. Quiggly, a French bulldog wearing athetic shoes, bests a group of greyhounds at a racetrack, winning by such a large margin that he pauses and then moonwalks backwards across the finish line — sort of like the Giants final touchdown, that touchdown they didn’t really want.
Still, scoring is everything, as the Teleflora ad tells us: Spend money on a female, perhaps in the form of a nice bouquet, and you will get you some.
Running just behind dogs and sex was the theme of death, destruction and other matters apocalyptic, including ads for several doomsday movies and one for cars that, along with their owners, survived the end of the world.
In fourth place were cute babies. Both DORITO and ETRADE ran baby ads in the first half — the latter featuring the now famous market-savvy talking baby, the former featuring a baby fired from a sling to grab a bag of chips.
DORITOS — though its dog-related ads often have a bit of a mean streak (like last year’s of a taunted pug smashing through a door) — scored with a second dog ad in the second half, depicting a dog park where humans perform tricks and line up for a salty treat.
Our pick of the litter? Weego, the rescued mutt who, whenever he is called – “Here, Weego!” — responds by fetching a BUD LIGHT for the caller. That’s not exactly new ground in beer advertising, but this time, the star was a rescued mutt, a scrawny little dog who oozed far more personality than any of the personalities in the Super Bowl ads, like Mark Cuban, Donald Trump and Clint Eastwood. Better yet, the ad included a pitch for rescuing dogs — and referred viewers to a Facebook page where they could learn more.
Also making a strong showing were “inspirational” ads from GE, celebrating the American worker, and at least two beer ads that seemed to be celebrating the end of prohibition, nearly 80 years ago.
The most powerful, and curious, advertisement shown during the Super Bowl was Clint Eastwood’s pitch for CHRYSLER (or was it for America?). The ad shows dismal-looking footage of Detroit as Eastwood tells us, “It’s halftime in America.” Then he goes on to talk about the resilience of Americans — how, via our bootstraps and given our inner strength, we can pick ourselves up and overcome anything.
It was a moody, somber but hopeful, piece — and maybe a tad ironic given the government bailout Chrysler received decades ago.
It was not an ad I wanted to hoist a celebratory drink to — after all, if it were truly halftime in America, that would mean we’d only have 235 years left – but it was definitely one that made me want to drink.
(For all our “Woof in Advertising” posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2012, adriana lima, ads, advertisements, advertising, america, apocalypse, babies, bark side, bolt, bud light, budweiser, chrysler, clint eastwood, commercials, david beckham, dog park, dogs, dogs in advertising, donald trump, doomsday, doritos, etrade, french bulldog, giants, go daddy, great dane, greyhound racing, greyhounds, half time, halftime, here weego, mark cuban, mr quiggly, mutt, patriots, personalities, sex, skechers, super bowl, telefora, themes, volkswagen, weego, woof in advertising
Don’t be surprised if you see more canines than cleavage when it comes to this year’s Super Bowl ads.
At least three ads premiering during the 2012 Super Bowl will star dogs.
“You can’t go wrong with a dog,” Robbie Blinkoff, a cultural anthropologist told USA Today. “The dogs are idealized versions of ourselves. The dogs aren’t dogs — they’re us.”
As anyone who’s been following our “Woof in Advertising” series knows, sex may be the quickest way to a consumer’s groin, but the best route to a consumer’s heart (which we’d argue more often controls the purse strings) is through dogs.
Volkswagen is one company that’s shifted to more heartwarming ads, moving away from the mean spirited but funny ones of recent years.
In its 2012 Super Bowl spot, an extended Internet version of which is seen above, a dog sets off to chase a new VW Beetle only to realize he can no longer fit through the dog door.
He undertakes a makeover of his own, drops a few pounds and is off and running — through the dog door and after a shiny red Beetle. In the final seconds, the ads shifts to a Star War themes, in homage to VW’s popular 2011 Super Bowl spot that featured a child dressed as Darth Vader who thinks “The Force” helped him start a car.
“The Dog Strikes Back” will run in the second quarter of Sunday’s game.
Anheuser Busch, meanwhile, will introduce a new dog — a rescued mutt — in its ad for Bud Light. The dog’s name is Weego, and he fetches a bottle of guess what whenever he hears someone say, “Here, Weego.”
Then there’s the controversial Skechers ad, which the company hopes more people will find funny and inspiring than offensive. (Filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park, it has led to protests and a boycott of Skechers by the anti- greyhound racing group Grey2KUSA.)
Skechers, in case you haven’t stayed abreast, featured Kim Kardashian in its Super Bowl ad last year. This year it put its money on an athletic-shoe wearing French bulldog named Mr. Quiggly, who, in the ad, goes up against a group of racing greyhounds.
Leonard Armato, president of Skechers Fitness Group, says the spot is about inspiration — not greyhound racing: “We believe he’ll be the most lovable dog on the Super Bowl.”
As we’ve only seen a snippet of that one, and no sneak preview of “Weego,” we’ve got to go with the VW dog, for now, as most lovable. He’s a pretty magnificent beast, named Bolt, a 3-year-old Australian shepherd and St. Bernard mix.
As for how he achieved that amazing weight loss, you can find the answer in this “Making of The Dog Strikes Back” video:
(To see all of our “Woof in Advertising” posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2012, ads, advertising, anheuser busch, beetle, bolt, boycott, bud light, budweiser, canines, cleavage, commercials, controversy, dogs, dogs in advertising, french bulldog, grey2kusa, greyhound, marketing, mr quiggly, racing, selling, sex, skechers, star wars, super bowl, the dog strikes back, tucson greyhound park, volkswagen, vw, weego, woof in advertising
John Travolta has played a sympathetic hit man, a teenage rebel, a middle-aged biker, a presidential candidate, a disco king and an overweight housewife — and let’s not forget Vinnie Barbarino on “Welcome Back, Kotter” — but the newly released “Bolt,” is both his first animated feature and his first time playing a dog.
“Bolt” — a movie about a dog with “superpowers” that features the voices of Travolta and Miley Cyrus, aka Hannah Montana – opened across the United States on Friday.
Travolta, 54, is the voice of Bolt, an eager-to-please puppy. It’s a role Travolta said comes more naturally to him than the cool cat he often plays.
“Growing up, people always compared me to a dog in those games about what kind of animal you’d be,” Travolta said. “As a person, I’m probably a dog — I’m big on loyalty,” he told Reuters. “But on screen I’m more of a cool cat. If you think of my roles in ‘Pulp Fiction’ or ‘Saturday Night Fever’ or ‘Grease’ — he’s more of cat. But in life, I’m more of a cuddler.”
There’s a quick clip from the movie in the video above of Travolta’s recent appearance on “The Early Show” on CBS.
Travolta also sings a duet with Cyrus on the “I Thought I Lost You” theme tune to “Bolt.”
Bolt is the powerful and confident star of a kids action series on TV. But when he becomes separated from his beloved “person” (voiced by Miley Cyrus), he discovers that his superbark and laser vision are mere Hollywood magic and he must get by in the real world like any other four-legged creature.