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.)
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.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 10th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ads, advertising, animals, bucket list, dog, dogs, dogs in advertising, dream, dream weekend, impreza, marketing, pets, subaru, weekend, willie nelson, woof in advertising
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?”
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.)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 23rd, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ad, advertisement, advertising, animals, commercial, dog, dogs, lincoln, marketing, matthew mcconaughey, navigator, pets, time to eat, woof in advertising
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’).”
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.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 10th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: achtung, advertising, animals, cam, cap, connect, connected dog, dog, dog walking, dogs, gps, headphones, marketing, media, pets, prank, the connected dog, video, volkswagen, vw, walking
This year’s crop of Super Bowl ads was disappointing — and not just because there weren’t enough commercials with dogs in them.
I counted two ads in which dogs played a significant role, compared to nearly a dozen featuring celebrities, among them Alec Baldwin, Jeff Goldblum, Helen Mirren, Amy Schumer, Anthony Hopkins, Seth Rogen, Christopher Walken, Kevin Hart, Willem Dafoe, Liam Neeson, Ryan Reynolds and Drake.
And throw in a dizzying amount of special effects.
Yes, there was that stampede of dachshunds, all in hot dog costumes, making a mad dash for the Heinz family of condiments:
And there were those dogs scheming on how to get their paws on some of the Doritos displayed in the grocery store.
Neither of those knocked me out, and they pale in comparison with some of the far more funny, far more human, dog ads of previous Super Bowls.
Several other ads featured dogs in small supporting roles — in an ad with singing sheep, and in one where a town seems to occupied nearly entirely by clones of Ryan Reynolds (as if we’re not already seeing enough of the real one of him).
Then, too, a dog was part — and I do mean part — of my least favorite dog-related Super Bowl ad.
Mountain Dew, in an ad for its new beverage, Kick Start, unveiled a puppy-monkey-baby that looked like it would be more at home in a bad acid trip. I can only assume its creators had a little too much Kick Start during their creative process.
I didn’t keep a tally, but I’m pretty sure monstrous or otherwise fictional creatures far outnumbered dogs in this year’s ads — just as special effects far outnumbered moments of humanity, and flash far outdistanced substance.
I won’t show you the worst of them — that pink blob of bulging intestines wandering the stadium in search of a free bathroom. Nor will I mention the name the prescription drug it advertised. I’ll just remind you that Super Bowl ads cost $5 million per spot — and that’s just for the time.
Throw in the production costs involved with having a celebrity or animated intestinal blob tout your product and you’ll begin to understand why you probably won’t be paying bargain prices for anti-diarrhea meds or your next Hyundai.
All in all, Super Bowl ads this year left me unimpressed, feeling a little cold, and feeling a little old. They often left me creeped out — and I include the “Super Bowl babies” in that group. (Is the NFL so hard up for something to brag about that it must boast that the big game makes people copulate?)
This year’s ads left me longing for some of those ads of previous years — when dogs were dogs, and men were men, and internal organs stayed inside us.
Not being a big fan of talking dogs, dogs in costume, or dogs being part of some monstrous hyperactive multi-species hybrid, I didn’t really have a favorite dog ad among them.
Instead, I’d have to give this year’s top honors to the Subaru ads featured during the Puppy Bowl.
(You can find more of our Woof in Advertising posts here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 8th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertising, alec baldwin, amy schumer, animals, Anthony Hopkins, baby, celebrities, Christopher Walken, commercials, dogs, dogs in advertising, doritos, Drake, heinz, Helen Mirren, humanity, hyundai, intestines, Jeff Goldblum, Kevin Hart, kia, kick start, Liam Neeson, marketing, monkey, mountain dew, pets, puppy, puppy bowl, puppy monkey baby, puppymonkeybaby, Ryan Reynolds, Seth Rogen, special effects, subaru, super bowl, super bowl 50, super bowl ads, Willem Dafoe, woof in advertising
It’s that (one) time of year that we get excited about commercials — and while those that air during the Super Bowl always get the most hype, Subaru is again focusing its advertising efforts on the Puppy Bowl.
Five new ads showcasing the Barkleys, the family of retrievers that first rolled onto the scene in 2013, will be airing in coming weeks and during Puppy Bowl XII on Animal Planet.
The ads are part of Subaru’s “Dog Tested Dog Approved” campaign.
The ads do a great job of intertwining quirky human behavior and quirky dog behavior with some highly laughable results.
In “Phone Navigation,” the Barkleys try to communicate with their smartphone voice assistant, but run into a bit of a language barrier.
“Puppy” shows the Barkleys taking a nighttime drive to try to get their little one to sleep.
And in “Bad Hair Day” Dad picks up Mom from the hair salon and is unsure what to make of her makeover.
Subaru has long been at the forefront of car companies catering to dog owners.
“Subaru and its customers have a deep connection to pets. Eight out of 10 Subaru owners are pet owners, and our brand continues to support the causes and initiatives that our customers care about,” said Alan Bethke, vice president of marketing at Subaru of America.
(Woof in Advertising is a semi-regular feature on ohmidog! that looks at how dogs are used in marketing. You can find more posts here.)
Posted by John Woestendiek February 1st, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: ads, advertising, animals, barkleys, commercials, dogs, dogs in advertising, marketing, pets, puppy bowl, puppy bowl XII, retrievers, smartphone, subaru, super bowl, video, woof in advertising
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!