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Tag: cars

Woof in Advertising: The Scent

Sure, a $50,000 sport utility vehicle can help you find women.

But not as good as a dog can.

In this Range Rover ad, an unnaturally handsome man finds a scarf, lets his dog sniff it, then follows in his Baroque — through winding streets, around various urban obstacles and even down some stairs — as the dog tracks down the owner.

The carmaker says the ad showcases the “contemporary design and extraordinary versatility” of the Range Rover Baroque, but we think the dog wins out, at least in the latter category.

The commercial, entitled “The Scent,” was filmed in Girona and Barcelona, and its tagline is, “Cut a path through civilization.”

Not to give away the ending, but the dog finds the scarf’s owner, and, miracle of miracles, it’s an unnaturally  beautiful woman.

We think the ad would have been better if it were a wrinkly, 99-year-old great grandma, who was missing her babushka. Or better yet, if the camera showed the dog running toward a beautiful young woman, then past her to deliver the scarf back to the great grandma.

While some of its models have shrunk, the Range Rover still has a bit of an image as a big, road-hogging, view-blocking gas guzzler (though the Baroque averages 23 miles per gallon and is much less offensive than, say, a Humvee).

Given that image, the ad could have used a little more humor, a little less hubris – of the “I-can-drive-my-big-imposing-car-anywhere-I-want” category.

Needless to say, don’t try this at home, whether home is Barcelona or Brooklyn. Roving the range is one thing; roving urban sidewalks and steps quite another.

One must be careful not to mow down pedestrians when cutting a path through civilization, which, by the way, already provides us with paths for cars.

They’re called roads.

Woof in Advertising: Meet the Barkleys

What can sell cars even better than a cute dog?

How about an entire family of them?

Subaru — the automobile company that has long embraced, catered to and capitalized on canines in its commercials – has released a new series of ads that follows the travels of a family of four retrievers. 

And while it’s just in time for the Super Bowl, you probably won’t see the ads during the big game. Once again, Subaru is opting to be a Puppy Bowl sponsor instead.

Subaru’s ”Meet the Barkleys” campaign consists of four 30-second spots in which the canine family experience some mini-dramas. In this one, dad ends up in the doghouse for  appearing a little too interested in an attractive female pedestrian.

In the ads, the dogs aren’t just along for the ride, they’re in charge, and on their own. Dad drives. Mom navigates. And they youngest offspring — just a pup — sits in his child seat.

Produced by Carmichael Lynch and director Brian Lee Hughes of Skunk, the ads are enhanced with CGI, but the dogs are real, and Subaru offers a website where you can learn more about them.

WIAAuggie, who plays the role of dad, is a 5-year-old golden retriever from a small town in Canada, with several movie, television and commercials among his credits.

Stevie, a 4-year-old female yellow Lab, plays the mom, and lives with Auggie in real life as well. She was rescued from an animal shelter in Pasadena and started training as an actor just six months ago.

Playing the role of little brother is Sebastian, a 12-week-old (at the time of filming) golden retriever from Moorpark, California.

From the same California breeder came Sadie, six-months-old, a golden retriever who plays the role of the daughter, and who, in another one of the ads, raises dad’s suspicion when she lingers a little too long in the car when her date brings her home.

While that’s one of  two ads that shows the dog family acting out distinctively human type dramas, the other two show their doggie side — as in going ballistic at the sight of a mail truck. Then there’s what happens when the family takes a break from their road trip to stop at a convenience store:

Woof in Advertising: VW’s “Woofwagen”

Pawlitically incorrect as it might be, I do permit my dog to stick his head out the car window from time to time.

While there are those who say that’s putting him, and particularly his eyes and ears, at risk, I can’t bring myself to forbid him from sticking his nose out the window. To ban him from that activity would be the equivalent of taking someone to an art museum and blindfolding them.

So when traveling at reasonable speeds, and once in a while traveling at unreasonable speeds, I power down the back window halfway to let Ace sniff in the surroundings for a minute or two, usually at his urging — as in, “If I keep smushing my greasy nose into this closed window, he will open it a bit.”

I, unsafe and risky as it is, love to see the dog head protruding from the car window, almost as much as dogs seem to enjoy sticking their heads out the window.

To me, the dog head protruding from a car window, while maybe not as iconic as that torch Lady Liberty holds up, is a symbol of freedom and possibilities and soaking up all life has to offer. I have even tried it myself, but I got something in my eye and no longer take part in that behavior. Ace still gets to, though, within limits.

Admitting that will probably bring some criticism my way, just as I’d expect this new ad from Volkswagen might take some heat.

The ad features more than 15 dogs — all hooked up to seat restraints, it is said — but still managing to get their heads out the car window, in some cases well out the window.

(If you’re wondering why some dogs appear to be in the driver’s seat, that’s because the ad was filmed in the UK, for the British market.)

Twenty-two dogs were involved in the filming of the ad, and none of them were equipped with doggy goggles.

Thus those dogs, like my dog, were exposed to the danger of dirt, rocks, dust and debris that could harm their eyes; or ear damage that can result from them flapping too fiercely in the wind; or the possibility of falling out of the window.

The ad makers, judging from this behind-the-scenes “making of” video (below) seemed to exercise care and take precautions with the dogs.

But I’d be interested in hearing what you think. Will the ad be viewed as putting dogs in danger, or letting dogs be dogs? Is it joyous, or worrisome, and do you think it’s going to sell many Volkswagens? As for me, I was too busy looking at the dogs to notice the cars at all.

Drive-by dog shootings may be linked

As crimes go, few are more cowardly and spineless than the drive-by shooting — except maybe the drive by shootings of dogs.

That’s whats been going on in Clark County in Washington state, where two dogs have been killed in the town of La Center.

Fox 12 reports that, on the heels of a similar shooting last month, a second dog — a 2-year-old American Eskimo named Roger — was killed by shots from a passing car Sunday as he sat in his own front yard.

There were also reports Sunday of another dog in the area being shot at from a car.

James Wilson was working on his car, with Roger sitting just a few feet away, when he heard a gunshot, followed by the cries of his dog.

He got in his own car and chased the dark-colored SUV the shots had been fired from but couldn’t get close enough to get a license plate number, authorities said.

Back home, he learned his dog had died in his wife’s arms.

Clark County sheriff’s deputies say last month another pet owner found his dog on a gravel pile, dead from a gunshot wound. That dog, like Roger, was shot with a small caliber bullet, authorities said.

Deputies are investigating whether the shootings are linked.

Expressway dog Ike is thriving a year later

A year ago he was a hapless stray, dodging traffic on Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway.

Ike, as he was dubbed after his rescue, is no longer living life in the fast lane, but instead enjoying all the comforts of a new home, the Chicago Tribune reports. He’s even had some face time with the governor, Pat Quinn.

“He’s very, very happy and very healthy,” said Steve Zorn, who owns Precious Pets Almost Home, which handled Ike’s adoption.

A year ago, those who viewed video of the black and brown pit bull dodging morning traffic — for two days in a row, as TV helicopters tracked him — wondered if he’d make it out alive.

A Broadview police officer finally snagged him when Ike exited the expressway. When no one claimed him, he was put up for adoption and now lives in the north suburbs, where his best friend is the family cat.

“They cuddle up and sleep together,” Zorn said.

Ike has his own Facebook page, which features this photo and more.

(Photo: Ike and the governor, by Steve Zorn, of Precious Pets Almost Home)

Roadside Encounters: Underdog

Name: Underdog

Breed: German shepherd

Age: 3

Encountered: On I-40, then at a liquor store parking lot in Maumelle, Arkansas.

Backstory: When a pickup truck was passing me on Interstate 40 in Arkansas, I did that quick little sideways look we all do — or at least I do. I’m not sure why I do that. Is it to see if it, against all odds, it might be someone I know? Is it in hopes of making a love connection, or at least some eye contact to break up the interstate monotony? Maybe it’s just to check and see if that person is giving me the sideways look.

In this case, the eyes that looked back at me were those of a German shepherd, sitting in the passenger seat. When the pickup he was in pulled off at the next exit, I followed, all the way to a liquor store, where, in the parking lot, I parked alongside it and asked the driver if I could take a picture of his dog.

Underdog’s owner, who appeared to be on a run to secure some New Year’s Eve essentials, runs his own company, called, according to the side of the trailer his truck pulled, Leaf Removal & More. He used to live in Little Rock, but recently moved to nearby Conway.

“I got me a house by the lake,” he said. “I’m happy there.”

Happy New Year to Underdog, and all underdogs everywhere.

To see all of our Roadside Encounters, click here.

Dog dies in car while owner visits museum

A tourist from Michigan was charged with animal cruelty Monday after leaving his two dogs inside a minivan while he visited the the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

Rosie, an 8-year-old Chihuahua, died of heat stress after being inside the minivan for more than an hour, said Sabrina Fang, a spokeswoman for the Washington Humane Society.

Pebbles, Rieff

Rosie had been left inside a plastic storage bin. A second dog, a 15-year-old beagle mix named Pebbles, was kept inside a crate made for dogs. She was treated for heat stress at an animal hospital, and was expected to be released today, according to the Washington Post.

Washington Humane Society officials say more tourists seem to be leaving pets inside cars, unaware of how quickly the temperatures can rise.

Police arrested Kenneth Reiff, and his daughter was taken into custody by Child Protective Services, Humane Society officials said.

Ace adds his tag to Cadillac Ranch

In 1973, Stanley Marsh 3, with help form a San Francisco artists’ collective known as the Ant Farm, partially buried ten used Cadillacs in the ground — head first, with their hind ends jutting into the air — at his ranch just west of Amarillo.

And called it art, which, of course, it was.

Collectively, the Cadillacs, ranging in model years from 1948 to 1963, were meant to represent the “Golden Age” of American automobiles.

Tourists — at least those with an appreciation for offbeat — have been dropping by ever since, and in more recent years, they’ve been adding their own touches, with spray paint, which by now, is probably an inch or so thick.

For a while, the cars displayed their original paint jobs – but it didn’t take long before people started scratching in their initials, or painting their names on the cars, or, worse yet, breaking their windows and stealing their innards, like radios and speakers.

Marsh has no problem with the public input. “We think it looks better every year,” he has been quoted as saying.

In 1997, as Amarillo spread, the Cadillac Ranch was dug up and reburied about two miles to the west. Marsh insisted that, in addition to the cars, the old site’s trash — spray cans mostly — be gathered and spread at the new location.,

In 2005, the Cadillacs were painted pink in a tribute to breast cancer victims. Since then, every conceivable color has been added, and the number of spray paint cans littering the site has grown.

Cadillac Ranch is not to be confused with Carhenge, in Alliance Nebraska, where Jim Reinders sought to duplicate Stonehenge — only with 38 junk cars. It opened in 1987.

Our stop at Cadillac Ranch was a quick one. Dozens of visitors were coming in and out, across the dusty pasture in which it sits, many of them having added their mark with spray paint. Some bring their own, some just find leftovers in the spray cans that litter the site.

It was extremely hot, and Ace was only interested in two things — finding some shade and, of course, leaving his tag on the monument. Anything that rises out of the ground, as Ace sees it, is fair game.

Dogs, you see, were the original graffiti artists — making their marks, claiming their turf, spraying, so to speak, long before the first human picked up an aerosol can.

Ace’s tag will remain, invisibly, at Cadillac ranch, probably for longer than most of the graffiti that was being added earlier this week — noticed only by future dogs who take the time to sniff.

They, being fellow dogs, will recognize the work of a true artist. Brilliant, they will think to themselves … ahead of his time … groundbreaking.

Then they will pee on his pee.

(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing tale of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America)

Dog dies in parked car in Frederick

A Labrador retriever died after being left in a car parked outside a Costco in Frederick, Maryland.

A Maltese died after being left in a parked van while his owner went for a swim in a New York park.

A rash of similar cases have been reported across the heat-waved northeast, leading animal advocates to reiterate what they have long said — but apparently not everybody has heard: Dogs should never be left in parked cars, especially not in summer

In the Maryland case, Frederick County Animal Control says the dog was left in a car on Tuesday, as temperatures climbed to 104 degrees, the Washington Post reported. Authorities were notified about the dog, but by the time investigators arrived the dog was dead and the owner of the car was gone. Authorities are still investigating.

Earlier this week, a Bronx man left his Maltese inside his van at FDR State Park in Westchester, while he went for an hour-long swim, the New York Daily News reported.

Someone saw the dog and called park police, but by the time it was moved to the shade, the dog died. The owner of the dog was charged with animal cruelty.

We coulda stayed in a wigwam

Ace and I had planned to get across the New Mexico state line Monday, but once we hit Holbrook, Arizona it was close to 6 p.m. So I pulled out my AAA “Traveling with Your Pet” guide to see what lodgings might be friendly, and saw that all four listed accepted pets “with restrictions.”

We hate restrictions.

We’d decided to push on to Gallup when we saw, on the edge of Holbrook, a Motel 6 — the chain that we’ve come to rely on for under $40 a night dog friendliness, with no deposits or restrictions. We checked in there — it’s the nicest Motel 6 we’ve stayed at yet — and I left Ace in the room while I went back into town trolling for somewhere to eat dinner.

It was then I found where I should have stayed. Had I done a little research, or taken 10 minutes to tour the town first, I would have seen it earlier. Now, I’ll have to wait until the next time we pass through to stay at that kitschy monument to thinking outside the box — the Wigwam Motel.

It’s a glorious sight — especially in the modern day world of look-alike, smell-alike, sound-alike motels: 15 individual concrete wigwams perched on a dusty lot.

From the looks of things, it has managed — though it died once — to survive where a lot of other family owned motels, thanks to the Interstate bypassing town, have not.

I stopped in and chatted with Guy Thielman, the great grandson of Chester Lewis, who opened the motel in the 1940s after seeing a similar one in Kentucky.

It was part of a chain, and Lewis — of a mind that if anywhere should have a wigwam motel it was Holbrook — took out a loan and got himself a franchise, or at least something close to that. According to Wikipedia, he purchased the rights to the design, as well as the right to use the name “Wigwam Village” in an unusual agreement: The chain’s owner would receive the proceeds from coin operated radios (30 minutes for a dime) installed in rooms at the Holbrook Wigwam Village.

Lewis closed the motel in 1974 when Interstate 40 bypassed downtown Holbrook. Two years after his death in 1986, his two sons, Clifton and Paul, and his daughter, Elinor, renovated and reopened it and later managed to get it listed on the  National Register of Historic Places.

Seven Wigwam Motels, also known as Wigwam Villages were built between 1936 and the 1950s. Only three are still in operation – in Holbrook, Cave City, Kentucky and near San Bernadino, California.

The other four – now gone — were located in New Orleans, Orlando, Bessemer, Alabama and Horse Cave, Kentucky, where the first one opened.

Holbrook’s Wigwam Motel has a few bonus features as well — a museum of petrified wood and other artifacts accumulated by Chester Lewis, and many vintage automobiles strewn about the parking lot.

The biggest bonus of all, though, is that dogs are allowed, with no deposit required.

I stopped by the wigwams again yesterday to take some photos and ran into a group that was packing up after what they described as an enjoyable and inexpensive evening in their wigwam.

Amber, her friend Shantelle, and Shantelle’s son, Logan, were headed for the Petrified Forest, but they took the time to say hello. Logan immediately bonded with Ace, and invited him into the wigwam.

The three were on vacation, hitting most of the well-known tourist attractions of the southwest — Carlsbad Caverns, Sedona, the Grand Canyon and more. They learned about the Wigwam Motel while Googling things to do along Route 66. Since Shantelle and Amber didn’t have many pictures of the Wigwam Motel, or the two of them together, I put together an album and slapped it on my Facebook page, so they could have access to them.

Logan babysat Ace for me while I wandered around the property taking photos of them, the wigwams and the vintage cars — some of them even older than me.

It’s nice to see an effort to preserve the past, and to see that the old motel — even though bypassed by an Interstate and pounded by the poor economy — is still up and running.

Wigwams forever!

(“Dog’s Country” is the continuing tale of one man and one dog spending six months criss-crossing America. It can be found exclusively on ohmidog! To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)

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