Yes, ohmidog! pokes cruel fun at “new technology” from time to time, but only when “new technology” deserves it — as is the case with this tail wagging monitor a group hopes to bring to the market.
Some Cornell University graduates have launched an Indiegogo campaign to finance the manufacturing of DogStar TailTalk, which they describe as a translator of dog emotions.
The device consists of a lightweight sensor that wraps around your dog’s tail, monitoring the speed and direction of the tail’s movement with an internal accelerometer and a gyroscope.
Coupled with a phone app, the developers say, it will tell you when your dog is happy, and when his or her tail wag may be a sign of stress.
Scientific studies conducted in Italy have concluded that the prominent direction of a dog’s tail wag is an indicator of whether he’s happy or feeling anxiety, aggression or fear.
Wagging more to the right is said to be an indication of positive feelings.
The developers of the device say the direction of the wag isn’t always discernable to the naked eye: “Tail wagging is asymmetric and includes complex emotional signals that the human eye cannot recognize.”
We’re not so sure about that, just as we’re not so sure that a dog owner, seeing their dog’s tail wagging upon meeting, say, another dog, will have time to fire up the app to determine whether the meeting is going to go well.
Like a lot of canine-oriented technology — from treat poppers to automatic ball throwers to spy cams – this little gizmo takes over a task and/or responsibility that we should be doing ourselves, thereby growing closer and better knowing our dog, as opposed to distancing ourselves from our dog and giving them the features of robots.
As the goofy video above shows, the device may have some value when used remotely, such as learning the dog really doesn’t like the dog walker at all, but that — again — is something a dog owner should be able to ascertain beforehand without gyroscopes or apps.
The design team says it consulted on the project with “professors from the famous College of Veterinary Medicine in Cornell University.”
We think we smell a class project resurfacing for the marketplace. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Current plans call for the TailTalk app to work with iOS or Android phones, and to include features like the “Happiness Overview” function, which tracks a dog’s emotional status over the course of a day, a week, or a month. The monitoring device will be waterproof and “chew-resistant.” We can only hope that dogs, annoyed by having a tail attachment, don’t inadvertently chew through something other than the device.
So far, the campaign has raised about a third of its $100,000 funding goal.
If all goes according to plan, the TailTalk device will be ready to hit the market in about a year, and we suspect that — just as there are those who are willing to fund it — there will be those willing to buy it.
Because while the dog may sometimes wag his tail, and the tail may sometimes wag the dog, technology seems destined to almost always wag us.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 8th, 2015 under videos.
Tags: animals, anxiety, app, campaign, cornell, crowdfunding, device, direction, dog, dogs, dogstar, emotions, fear, fearful, happy, high tech, indiegogo, marketing, marketplace, monitor, pets, research, science, stressed, studies, tail, tailtalk, technology, wag, wag direction, wagging, wags
That trio of sassy grandmothers currently being featured in a series of Volkswagen ads has a new traveling companion — a Chiweenie with an overbite — and true to his name (Tuna) he’s stinking up the place.
In the ad, the grandmas detect an odor in the vehicle, which they at first blame on it being diesel-powered. After some continued sniffing, they determine the real source of the foul smell: It’s Tuna.
Tuna — that’s his real name — had achieved some major fame even before appearing in the ad, with more than 1.5 million followers on his Instagram page.
And he’s already published his own book, “Tuna Melts My Heart: The Underdog with an Overbite.”
According to that website, Tuna is a 4 year-old Chiweenie (Chihuahua-dachshund mix) with an exaggerated overbite who was rescued in 2010 by Courtney Dasher at a Farmers Market in LA.
Within a year, Dasher created an Instagram account dedicated to Tuna’s photos. By the end of 2012, he had hundreds of thousands of followers.
Dasher said her goal was to “bring people joy through Tuna’s pictures that showcased his cartoonish looks and his charming personality.”
“Since Tuna is the epitome of the underdog, most people advocate for him and adore him for his endearing qualities. His loyal followers embrace his physical differences, have fallen in love with his charm and connect to his message; that true beauty comes in all forms and radiates from within.
“Furthermore, he is an ambassador for animal rescue, since he too was once rescued, and it has become a part of Courtney’s mission to raise awareness for rescue groups through this platform.”
Dasher met Tuna at an adoption event after he’d been found discarded on the side of the road near San Diego.
You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts — looking at how dogs are used in marketing – here.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 20th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, ads, advertising, animals, book, chihuahua, chiweenie, courtney dasher, dachshund, diesel, dogs, dogs in advertising, facebook, grandmas, grandmothers, instagram, marketing, mix, odor, overbite, pets, photos, sassy, smell, tuna, tuna melts my heart, tunameltsmyheart, twitter, volkswagen, woof in advertising, woof!
Leave it to a tissue-making company to come up with a tear-jerking dog ad.
And while I’m surprised it has taken them this long, I’m very glad they did.
This Kleenex social marketing video features Chance, a dog who was left partially paralyzed after he was hit by a car. He was scheduled to be euthanized when a San Antonio rescue organization pulled him from the shelter and found him a home.
That home was with Mike, who isn’t “wheelchair-bound” by any means, but also uses one to get around.
“My husband was like we have to get him because nobody is going to love him like we’re going to love him,” his wife Stacey recalls.
San Antonio Pets Alive reports on its blog that Chance was “more than ready to be in the spotlight.”
The video depicts how Chance and Mike don’t let too many things get in their way, and how they seem to bring out the best in each other.
“I knew his struggles as well as mine, and I knew we could overcome those obstacles together,” said Mike.
“The difference Chance makes in my life is the happiness and the courage to know that there isn’t anything that anybody can’t do.”
(This series looks at how dogs are used in advertising. You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 30th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ads, advertisements, advertising, animals, chance, commercials, disability, dogs, in, kleenex, marketing, pets, san antonio pets alive, social media, wheelchairs, woof in advertising, woof!
I have not yet come to fully understand these feelings I have for Trivago Man.
I’m a heterosexual male, yet I will admit I find him quite appealing.
Perhaps it’s that his face has more character than the average shill pushing a product on TV. Perhaps it’s how he always looks at least a little disheveled, rumpled even, and less than smoothly shaved.
Maybe it’s because he’s sooooo laid back. Or because you just know that — behind his charming smile, tight shirt and beltless jeans — there lies a very sensitive side.
That side is played up a little more in this commercial for Trivago, the travel arrangement website based in Dusseldorf, Germany, that seems to be running its ads on every channel in America.
Wouldn’t you just know it, Trivago man has to have a dog.
And not a big dog. Trivago man doesn’t need a gigantic vehicle or large dog to prove his masculinity. A Chihuahua is sufficient for him.
He’s a non-threatening sort, not supremely arrogant, not overly slick, not particularly young. He seems to be in, or just past, mid-life crisis age, but has kept, I’d guess, a calm and even keel through all that has thrown at him.
He’s just not your typical shiny TV guy. He appears as if he skipped going to make-up before coming into the studio, as if he may even have missed showering yesterday.
As one blogger wrote about him, “He’s so real you can practically smell the tobacco on the tips of his fingers.”
Maybe what’s so appealing about Trivago man is that he — even though he’s an advertising character — is so real.
Only one thing could have made him more real — a dog.
So it really should come as no big surprise that Trivago man got Lucky.
(You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek June 4th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertising, animals, chihuahua, dog, dogs, dogs in advertising, lucky, marketing, media, pets, pitchman, spokesman, television, travel, trivago, trivago dude, trivago man, website, woof in advertising
We love dogs. We love depictions of interspecies harmony. And danged if we don’t love Roger Miller.
So even though its cast is made up of various members of the animal kingdom — not just the dogs we normally feature in our “Woof in Advertising” pieces — we’re pretty crazy about this recent ad for Android phones.
We especially like the tagline: “Be Together. Not the Same.”
The ad doesn’t make me want to buy an Android phone.
But it does make me happy.
How can such scenes of interspecies friendship not make you joyful, especially when you throw in the phrase “Ooda Lalley?
(According to Urban Dictionary, it’s a term popularized in the 1950s, meaning yay or yippee.)
Now all we have to do is figure out what “Do-Wacka-Do” means, and whether it’s possible that — with enough interspecies harmony — we CAN roller skate in a buffalo herd.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 20th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertisement, advertising, android, animals, be together not the same, commercial, dogs, friendship, harmony, interspecies, marketing, ooda lalley, orangutan, pets, phone, relationship, robin hood and little john, roger miller, roscoe, song, suryia, woof in advertising
You know, probably all too well, those intrusive and uninvited advertisements that often precede viewing the videos you want to view on the Internet.
They are known as “pre-roll ads,” and I always do my best to make them disappear — both in terms of the videos I put on ohmidog!, and in terms of my own home viewing. I skip them the millisecond YouTube permits me to.
This one though, I’ve watched ten times, in its entirety.
The first five seconds of the Geico ad shows an all-too-typical family enjoying an all-too-typical spaghetti dinner, with the wife bragging about saving money on her insurance bill before the ad seems to culminate, at the five-second mark, in what at first appears to be an all-too-typical freeze frame.
That, as the family remains frozen — or at least tries to — is where the Saint Bernard comes in.
He eats spaghetti off the dad’s fork, climbs atop the table and clears the daughter’s plate, passes over the salad and spills a glass of milk as he proceeds to the the son’s plate, devouring its contents. Then he plunges his snout into the serving dish mom is holding.
The ad doesn’t really make me want to find out if 15 seconds can save me 15 percent on my insurance bill, but it’s brilliant — and further proof that dogs have a way of holding our attention, especially dogs behaving badly.
The ad was filmed in Los Angeles last month, and the dog, whose real name is Bolt, is a Saint Bernard mix.
If you find it impossible to skip, that was exactly the goal — to keep people riveted, even though it’s a form of advertising most of us detest.
“We call these unskippable,” Joe Alexander, chief creative officer at The Martin Agency, told USA Today. The agency has created three other mock freeze-frame Geico spots.
“Our goal is to bring attention to Geico in a space that is often hated,” he said.
(You can find more of our “Woof in Advertising” posts — about how marketers use dogs in advertising — here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 5th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ads, advertising, bolt, commercial, dinner, dogs, dogs in advertising, family, freeze frame, geico, in, insurance, internet, marketing, media, on line, pre-roll, saint bernard, skip, spaghetti, table, the martin agency, unskippable, videos, woof in advertising, woof!, youtube
Using “biodegradable” dog poop bags may ease our guilt, but the way we commonly dispose of them isn’t really doing the environment any favors.
That’s because most of them will end up in a landfill — the one place they are least likely to biodegrade.
Recognizing that, the Federal Trade Commission has warned 20 manufacturers of “biodegradable” dog waste bags that their marketing claims of being environmentally-friendly may be deceptive.
Apparently, even if a bag would biodegrade in a compost heap, or on a sidewalk, that doesn’t happen in your typical landfill — they being, after all, places intended primarily to be home to the unbiodegradable.
“Most waste bags … end up in landfills where no plastic biodegrades in anywhere close to one year, if it biodegrades at all,” the FTC said in a press release .
The warning letters were sent after examining the companies’ environmental claims on their websites and in other media, the FTC said.
“Consumers looking to buy environmentally friendly products should not have to guess whether the claims made are accurate,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “It is therefore critical for the FTC to ensure that these claims are not misleading, to protect both consumers and honest competitors.”
The press release leaves two things unclear. For one, are there any dog doo bags that do, in due time, biodregrade in landfills? Or do the companies that didn’t receive the letter simply avoid calling themselves green, or otherwise qualify the claim enough to avoid scrutiny?
If some bags do work better than others, the FTC doesn’t tell us. It declines to identify the 20 companies that were sent warning letters.
Calling a product ”biodegradable,” without qualification, generally means the product will completely break down into its natural components within one year after disposal. Calling the bags “compostable” is also deceptive, and potentially unsafe, the FTC says. Dog waste is generally not safe to compost at home, and while there are some facilities that compost dog waste, they are few and far between.
The FTC advised the companies to review their marketing materials and contact agency staff to tell them how they intend to revise or remove the claims, or explain why they won’t.
“To say your product is ‘degradable’ or ‘biodegradable,’ without qualification, you need competent and reliable scientific evidence that it will degrade in most landfills within the claimed time period or, if you don’t specify a time period, within one year,” the letter says.
“For your dog waste bags, you need competent and reliable scientific evidence that the entire product will completely break down and return to nature — in other words, decompose into elements found in nature — within a reasonably short period of time after customary disposal. To describe your product as biodegradable, you must have evidence that a substantial majority of consumers won’t dispose of them in a landfill or incineration facility since materials thrown away in that fashion don’t biodegrade.”
Posted by John Woestendiek February 10th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bags, biodegradable, claims, deceptive, dog poop bags, dogs, environment, federal trade commission, ftc, landfills, manufacturers, marketing, misleading, poop, poop bags, warned, waste