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
John Steinbeck’s French-born poodle, Charley, had little reaction to the giant redwood trees of southern Oregon and northern California – much to the chagrin of the author whose path we have been following for the past three months.
Based on what he wrote in “Travels with Charley,” seeing his dog make “his devoirs” — “devoirs” being French for “paying respect,” and paying respect being Steinbeck’s euphemism for peeing — was clearly important to him.
Charley urinating on a giant redwood, Steinbeck said, might “set him apart from other dogs — might even be like that Galahad who saw the Grail. The concept is staggering. After this experience he might be translated mystically to another plane of existence, to another dimension, just as the redwoods seem to be out of time and out of our ordinary thinking.”
He made a point of keeping Charley shielded from the trees, in the back of his camper Rocinante, until pulling over at the biggest redwood he could find.
“This was the time I had waited for. I opened the back door and let Charley out and stood silently watching, for this could be dog’s dream of heaven in the highest.” But Charley ignored the tree, Steinbeck wrote. “Look, Charley. It’s the tree of all trees. It’s the end of the quest.”
Then, he wrote, “I dragged him to the trunk and rubbed his nose against it. He looked coldly at me and forgave me and sauntered away to a hazelnut bush.” Not until Steinbeck broke off a willow branch, whittled one end to a point and inserted into the bark of the giant redwood did Charley do what seemed so important to Steinbeck. Devoirs accomplished.
It’s not exactly one of the warmest dog-human moments in the book — and Charley’s aloofness was pretty much the opposite of Ace’s reaction to the magnificent giants.
Ace rose up as we entered our first redwood forest and pressed his nose against the closed window. As always, I motored his window halfway down so he could sniff as well as see as we rode down a winding stretch of two-lane highway, rolling from dark shadows into blinding sunlight.
When we finally pulled over alongside a grove of redwoods, Ace was eager to get out, and tugged me into the forest.
He sniffed it, peed on it, and jumped up on it to sniff some more.
I won’t even try to describe the awe the redwoods inspire. Photos can’t do them justice. Word can’t do them justice, though Steinbeck came as close as anyone to getting across the “remote and cloistered feeling” one has when among them.
“One holds back speech for fear of disturbing something … for these are the last remaining members of a race that flourished over four continents as far back in geologic time as the upper Jurassic period.”
As the author noted, they have a way of making us realize how insignificant we are: “Can it be that we do not love to be reminded that we are very young and callow in a world that was old when we came into it?”
Posted by jwoestendiek November 21st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, book, california, charley, dogs, forest, giants, grove, john steinbeck, oregon, peeing on redwoods, pets, redwood, redwoods, road trip, steinbeck, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, travels with charley, tree, trees