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Tag: marketing

Oink in Advertising: The Chase pig

As those who regularly tune in for our “Woof in Advertising” features know, there’s no animal — with the possible exception of the scantily clad human female — that advertisers turn to more often to sell their products than the dog.

It’s because of the special connection we have with the species, because of the qualities they have come to represent (like loyalty and trustworthiness to name two), and because they are, generally speaking, the cutest things ever.

oinkPercy James, the miniature pig featured in this ad for Chase bank, may give dogs a run for the money in that last category.

Sure, pigs are associated with fatness, laziness and sloth (not traits your average bank would want to equate itself with), but those are the big farm versions that often become ham, pork chops and bacon. Not to mention wallets.

The miniature pig, while maybe not a whole different animal, symbolizes, well, we’re not sure what, but in this ad it represents independence, maybe mixed with a little streak of rebelliousness.

In the ad, a confident looking retired couple (we can only assume they have a nice nest egg) are taking their unique pet “Percy James” for a walk in the park.

“You live life your way,” a narrator says. “We can help you retire your way, too. Financial guidance while you’re mastering life. Chase … so you can.”

The song? It’s “Boombastic,” by Shaggy.

(Click on this link for more Woof in Advertising posts.)

Woof in Advertising: Olympic Mer-mutts

Just in time for the Olympics, Farmers Insurance has come out with a new series of ads featuring dogs making the best of a flooded home.

woof in advertisingThe latest in the Farmers “We Know From Experience” campaign, the ads feature dogs as athletes, competing in events that include diving and synchronized swimming.

The venue? The living room of a home that flooded after one of the dogs turned on the kitchen faucet, causing the sink to overflow.

That part of it, Farmers says, is based on a real claim.

The “Mer-Mutts,” as they are becoming known, are featured together and in separate spots featuring the dives of each — complete with commentary.

You can find all of them here.

Oscar winning actor J.K. Simmons introduces the ad, calling the event a combination of “form, grace and ill-behaved dogs.”



(You can find more of our Woof in Advertising posts here.)

Woof in Advertising: Eukanuba makers agree to drop claims that food extends lifespans

Under pressure from the Federal Trade Commission, the makers of Eukanuba dog food have agreed to stop claiming their brand extends the lives of dogs.

In a settlement that resolves a false advertising complaint filed by the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Mars Petcare will cease making the claim.

The FTC announced yesterday it had reached a settlement with Mars. Eukanuba began an advertising campaign last year claiming the brand could extend the expected lifespan of a dog by 30 percent or more.

woof in advertisingThe ads — like the longer version promotion shown above — featured aging black Labs, inspiring music and the bold claim that Eukanuba had been “scientifically proven” to extend the lives of dogs.

“Two-thirds of all Americans have pets at home, and they spend billions of dollars to ensure that their pets are healthy and well-fed,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Pet owners count on ads to be truthful and not to misrepresent health-related benefits. In this case, Mars Petcare simply did not have the evidence to back up the life-extending claims it made about its Eukanuba dog food.”

The order settling the FTC’s charges prohibits Mars Petcare from making any misleading or unsubstantiated claims that its Eukanuba-brand pet food or any other pet food will enable any dogs to extend their lifespan by 30 percent or more or live exceptionally long lives.

In May 2015, Eukanaba began the marketing and ad campaign on television, in print, and on the Internet.

“Ten years ago, we launched a long life study,” one ad said. “What we observed was astonishing. With Eukanuba and proper care, dogs in the study were able to live beyond their typical lifespan.”

The ad then showed a dog named Iowa who, at 17, had lived five years beyond than the typical Labrador lifespan.

eukanubaThe ads were based on a “10-year Long Life Study” purportedly carried out at the Eukanuba Pet Health and Nutrition Center. Dozens of Labrador retrievers were fed Eukanuba and given “proper care” over that span.

The study found 90% of the dogs lived beyond the typical lifespan of the breed, with 28% living longer than 15 years.

The study was begun while Eukanuba was still owned by Procter & Gamble Co. Last year, Eukanuba, along with Iams and other smaller brands, was acquired by Mars Petcare.

The FTC alleges that the longevity claims are false or unsubstantiated and that the claim that longevity was proven through scientific evidence is false.

“Among other things, the evidence relied on by [Mars] for its representations concerning the Eukanuba brand dog food consisted primarily of results from a single study, the results of which showed no significant difference in the median age at death of the dogs in the study relative to the typical age at death of dogs of the same breed,” reads the complaint. “Therefore, the representations… were, and are, false or misleading.”

The FTC decision does not penalize the pet food company financially, and under it Mars neither admits nor denies any wrongdoing.

(More of our “Woof in Advertising” posts can be found here.)

Woof in Advertising: What the dog knows

This new ad campaign for a dog food company in Brazil is neither warm nor fuzzy.

Instead, it’s a little macabre — and aimed at persuading you that you should feed your pooch Special Dog brand dog food because, otherwise, he might share your secrets with the world.

woof in advertisingCreated by Rio agency DM9DDB, it centers around the idea that your dog has gathered a lot of insider information about your lifestyle in the time you’ve spent together.

In the spot above, for example, a Great Dane confronts his owner in bondage gear.

And in the one below, a Pomeranian catches his owner adding some of her deceased husband’s ashes to her tea.

And in what’s probably the most distasteful one of all, a pug becomes even more bug-eyed after he sees his owner sniffing his own fingers after engaging in some groin related couch behavior.

The message is your dog sees all, and knows all, so you better treat him right.

Kinda gross. Kinda funny. Not the kind of information a dog food customer is looking for, but you must admit they kind of stick in your head.

Woof in Advertising: Dream Weekend

Bored as I’ve become with the whole “bucket list” concept — for humans and dogs — I couldn’t help but being impressed with Subaru’s Impreza ad.

Subaru turns to dogs for its advertising more than any car maker — and continues to put out better ones than any car maker, even as other companies begin to catch on to the power pooches have in marketing.

This one reminded me of the year-long trip and Ace took across America five years ago, We didn’t called it a bucket list, preferring to have the fun we had before our bones got too creaky, and before one or both of us was on death’s doorstep.

(We called it Travels with Ace. It never turned into a published book, but you can read almost all of it here.)

woof in advertisingThis ad (extended version) for the 2016 Impreza tells the story of a man and his aging dog having one last journey and completing a “bucket list” of treats for the dog.

Those include a brand new show to chew on, an unauthorized dip in a motel pool, a bone for the dog’s 14th birthday, reuniting with an ex-lover and more — all with Willie Nelson singing in the background.

The tag line: “It’s not just the miles in life; it’s what you make of them.”

Carmichael Lynch, the advertising agency, cast an 11-year-old rescue dog named Monkey in the lead role.

Willie Nelson, an avid animal rights activist, gave the agency permission to use the song — “I’ve Loved You All Over the World” — at a reduced rate.

Subaru launched the spot last July.

You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts — looking at how dogs are used in marketing — here.

Woof in Advertising: McConaughey and dogs

As Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln ads go, this new one, thankfully, doesn’t strive as hard to be sublime as the others, but it’s almost as ridiculous.

Generally, the series of luxury car ads has seemed more intent on celebrating the actor’s looks and accessories than the motor vehicle’s, and more concerned with his lofty personal observations than the vehicle’s performance.

This time, at least, he’s not talking to himself as he pulls out the driveway of a ritzy neighborhood. This time, he’s not checking his cuff links, or contemplatively rolling an invisible something between his thumb and forefinger.

This time, it’s a little more down to earth — he’s talking to two dogs in the back seat, about where to go eat.

“Alright what do you think boys?” McConaughey asks the German shorthaired pointer and Weimaraner in back of the Lincoln Navigator. “We could do tacos, we could do some Thai. Oh what do you think about sushi?”

woof in advertising(I wouldn’t recommend feeding any of those to a dog.)

The dogs somehow convey to McConaughey that they want barbecue (again). But McConaughey, deeming himself the far superior creature, nixes their idea

“No, we’re not having barbecue again. Why? Because you’re on four legs and I’m on two.

“And I’m driving.”

He punctuates that last sentence with a clicking mouth noise and a wink. Maybe it’s supposed to come across as sexy and self-assured, or it could just be to distract us from the obvious question: “If you didn’t care what they wanted to eat, why did you bother asking them in the first place?”

McConaughey has three dogs of his own, but none of them was used for the ad.

“Lincoln and I wanted the new ad to be more lighthearted and fun, so when they pitched the ‘driving with dogs’ idea I was in,” McConaughey said. In a news release for the ad, he added, “People love their dogs, I’ve got three myself, and yes, I, like most of you, even talk to them.”

The commercial spot, called “Time to Eat,” got its first TV air time during the Grammy awards. It was directed by filmmaker Gus Van Sant.

“Gus really understood how to bring the story of the Lincoln Navigator to life,” Jon Pearce, executive vice president and global chief creative officer for the ad agency Hudson Rouge, said in the release. “The setting, our canine passengers and some pithy dialogue all work together to tell the story of the type of person who likes to drive a Navigator.”

And what kind of person is that? We can only guess a pithy one.

(Woof in Advertising is a recurring ohmidog! feature that looks at how dogs are used in marketing. You can find earlier posts in this archived collection.)

A hi-tech idea whose time shouldn’t come

Volkswagen says this special cap a dog can wear — allowing you to monitor and stay in touch with him as he goes for a walk alone — is just a concept.

And as concepts go, we would say this would have to be one of the most stupid ones ever.

Called the Connected Dog, it’s billed in this video as the prototype for a newfangled way to walk your dog — without ever leaving home.

“Just like the My Volkswagen app, the Connected Dog is designed to make the owner’s life easier. The owner no longer needs to be present to walk the dog. After he remotely unlocks the doggy door, he is able to track the dog through both GPS and a live cam, whilst the application enables the ability to provide the dog with location-specific voice commands and rewards for spotless behavior (or ‘being a good boy’).”

connecteddogThe video was made by the creative agency ACHTUNG!

In it, a dog is shown roaming the city and stopping at a butcher shop while receiving remote voice commands from his owner.

“The dog is in charge, and he has an incredible life,” Dutch dog trainer Martin Gaus explains. “We’ll have to wait to see what the future will bring, but the sky’s the limit.”

The Connected Dog cap consists of a camera that sends live video to the owner, GPS tracking to show exactly where the dog is roaming, and speakers for the dog to hear commands.

PSFK.com called The Connected Dog “a cute and clever concept.”

AdWeek reported that the video is a prank.

Achtung! made a similar prank video last year, featuring a self-driving, self-braking VW baby stroller.

This one though — early April Fool’s joke that it is — isn’t too far off the mark when it comes to some of the newfangled dog technology being marketed these days, much of it aimed at ways you can control your dog from afar, or otherwise shirk your responsibility as a pet owner.

To all who seek to do that we offer a high-tech alternative, a robot dog.

And, if you insist on a real dog, we offer a low-tech solution: Get your ass home.