The dog ate the car keys? No big deal — at least not in this case, and as far as the car goes.
In this new ad from Volkswagen, entitled “Vet,” a Jetta owner, and bulldog owner, discovers the latter has eaten the keys to the former, but calmly handles the situation.
He grabs the bulldog, puts him in his car and, thanks to a keyless operating system, starts the car up and heads for the veterinarian.
(To see all of our “Woof in Advertising” posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: advertising, animals, ate, bulldog, commercial, dogs, dogs in advertising, jetta, keyless, keys, marketing, pets, swallowed, video, volkswagen, vw, woof in advertising
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
Don’t be surprised if you see more canines than cleavage when it comes to this year’s Super Bowl ads.
At least three ads premiering during the 2012 Super Bowl will star dogs.
“You can’t go wrong with a dog,” Robbie Blinkoff, a cultural anthropologist told USA Today. “The dogs are idealized versions of ourselves. The dogs aren’t dogs — they’re us.”
As anyone who’s been following our “Woof in Advertising” series knows, sex may be the quickest way to a consumer’s groin, but the best route to a consumer’s heart (which we’d argue more often controls the purse strings) is through dogs.
Volkswagen is one company that’s shifted to more heartwarming ads, moving away from the mean spirited but funny ones of recent years.
In its 2012 Super Bowl spot, an extended Internet version of which is seen above, a dog sets off to chase a new VW Beetle only to realize he can no longer fit through the dog door.
He undertakes a makeover of his own, drops a few pounds and is off and running — through the dog door and after a shiny red Beetle. In the final seconds, the ads shifts to a Star War themes, in homage to VW’s popular 2011 Super Bowl spot that featured a child dressed as Darth Vader who thinks “The Force” helped him start a car.
“The Dog Strikes Back” will run in the second quarter of Sunday’s game.
Anheuser Busch, meanwhile, will introduce a new dog — a rescued mutt — in its ad for Bud Light. The dog’s name is Weego, and he fetches a bottle of guess what whenever he hears someone say, “Here, Weego.”
Then there’s the controversial Skechers ad, which the company hopes more people will find funny and inspiring than offensive. (Filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park, it has led to protests and a boycott of Skechers by the anti- greyhound racing group Grey2KUSA.)
Skechers, in case you haven’t stayed abreast, featured Kim Kardashian in its Super Bowl ad last year. This year it put its money on an athletic-shoe wearing French bulldog named Mr. Quiggly, who, in the ad, goes up against a group of racing greyhounds.
Leonard Armato, president of Skechers Fitness Group, says the spot is about inspiration — not greyhound racing: “We believe he’ll be the most lovable dog on the Super Bowl.”
As we’ve only seen a snippet of that one, and no sneak preview of “Weego,” we’ve got to go with the VW dog, for now, as most lovable. He’s a pretty magnificent beast, named Bolt, a 3-year-old Australian shepherd and St. Bernard mix.
As for how he achieved that amazing weight loss, you can find the answer in this “Making of The Dog Strikes Back” video:
(To see all of our “Woof in Advertising” posts, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2012, ads, advertising, anheuser busch, beetle, bolt, boycott, bud light, budweiser, canines, cleavage, commercials, controversy, dogs, dogs in advertising, french bulldog, grey2kusa, greyhound, marketing, mr quiggly, racing, selling, sex, skechers, star wars, super bowl, the dog strikes back, tucson greyhound park, volkswagen, vw, weego, woof in advertising
Dogs barking ”The Imperial March” from “Star Wars” — that’s what Volkswagen may have planned for its Super Bowl ad this year.
But this isn’t the ad, just a “tease” for the ad, which is for the revamped 2012 Beetle.
USA Today reports that no part of the tease will be in the real ad, which makes me wonder why they’re teasing us with it.
What we do know is that the commercial will have a ”Star Wars” theme, as did last year’s — the spot featuring a boy in a Darth Vader costume marching around his house, trying to use The Force.
The teaser for this year’s ad features dogs wearing Star Wars gear, including a doggie ewok, a doggie wookie and a doggie ATAT, somehow managing, as a group, to bark out “The Imperial March.”
Fred Meier, in USA Today’s “Drive On” blog, notes — as we’ve been pointing out for months now — that the ad, or at least the teaser, ”honors a basic rule of Super Bowl advertising: The only thing that trumps sex is a cute animal.”
(To see all of our archived “Woof in Advertising” selections, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2012, ads, advertising, animals, barking, beetle, commercials, dogs, dogs in advertising, dogs sing star wars, imperial march, marketing, pets, star wars, super bowl, theme, volkswagen, woof in advertising
Everyone knows about the six degrees of separation, or at least knows somebody who knows somebody who does.
To put it in its simplest terms — as opposed to the manner of the bubbly graphic above — it’s the theory that you know somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody, who knows somebody who is lucky enough to know me.
In this small and growing smaller world, only five people stand between us — usually tall ones who block the view.
While the six degrees of separation may be an accepted algorithm, I have found it holds truer in your big cities — your Tinsel Towns, your Windy Cities, your Big Apples — moreso than in places like the one I’m living now, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
In Winston-Salem, there is only one degree of separation, if even that. More often it seems, there is no degree of separation.
Then again, as you’ll recall, I recently moved into the house where my parents lived when I was born. In doing so — returning to my birthplace after 40-some moves and 57 years of separation — quite possibly I altered the algorithms of my six degrees of separation beyond repair.
In any case, in Winston-Salem, everytime I go out I run into either somebody who knows me (and I only know about three people here, having moved away at age 1), or someone who knows my mother.
That translates into a degree of separation of zero, or one, at the very most two. Take my recently moved-in neighbor here in College Village. Her grandfather lives in the same retirement community as my mother. That same neighbor and the neighbor on my other side went to high school together, then ended up, after attending different colleges, two doors away from each other. The neighbor on my other side has a brother who used to date my neighbor four doors down.
A lot of great brains have wrapped themselves around the six degrees of separation, including actor Kevin Bacon, who some people think invented it. All he did though was come up with a game version, which he has since refocused on philanthropic purposes.
In actuality, the six degrees concept is even older than him.
Mathematicians, sociologists, and physicists alike have long been captivated with the field of “network theory,” which, contrary to what you might think, existed even before Facebook. In 1929, Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy published a volume of short stories titled Everything is Different, which included a story called “Chain-Links.” The story investigated and elaborated on his belief that the modern world was shrinking due to the increasing connectedness of human beings.
Since his time that connectivity has increased exponentially. With the advent of telephones, and advances in transportation, the world got smaller yet. And when the Internet came along, the world shrank, shrunk, shrinked a little more, as did correct use of grammar.
Indeed, thanks to the Internet, Facebook and the like, the world has become so small that I sometimes get claustrophobic. There’s a study that shows the degree of separation between two users of social networks such as Twitter averages 3.43, under an optimal algorithm.
Of course, that is why we are signing on to Facebook, and Twitter, and Linked In, and Genealogy.com and Match.com — to connect.
We humans — like dogs, who do it mostly by peeing — have an insatiable urge to connect. Whether it’s with old friends, dead relatives, new friends, potential business associates or hotties of the opposite sex, we want, and maybe we need, the linkage.
My personal belief is that — with all those websites that link us, at least superficially — we will all become so connected that something is going to short out. Either that, or we will all bore each other to death with details of last night’s dinner and how it was prepared.
What we often fail to realize, amid our quest for connections is that, when it comes to degrees of separation, sometimes more of them is better. Sometimes, having a hermit side to me, I get in a mood where six is not enough, where I would like twelve or fourteen of them instead.
If you’ve been following Travels With Ace, and our dispatches on resettling in North Carolina, you know that, while I’ve somewhat sequestered myself, I’ve also grown interested in reconnecting with my past, and exploring my family tree — both my father’s side and my mother’s.
Zonja Woestendiek is, or was, a German model who was also featured in a series of commercials for Volkswagen called, “Unpimp My Ride.”
Believe it or not, I once owned a Volkswagen — not a beetle, which makes the world seem even smaller, but a van with a pop-up roof, which makes the world seem larger, unless you are driving behind one.
Between exploring family trees and researching degrees of separation, I’ve been marveling at all the small world coincidences I’ve come across, especially in the past week since getting two teeth pulled.
They lived next door to each other, separated only by plaque in what, according to my dentist, was a deteriorating neighborhood.
The pain pills prescribed by the dentist, while blurring some things, have allowed me to focus clearly on others, like the six degrees of separation, and Zonja.
In researching the six degrees of separation, I came across something interesting — something I’m sure I have some connection with as well, given the similarity in names and other eery coincidences.
There is a Flemish television production company named Woestijnvis, that produces a show called “Man Bijt Hon,” or, in English, “Man Bites Dog.”
(My last name is Woestendiek, and, though I’m not biting much of anything these days, I do a dog website.)
The production company gots its name from a wrong answer provided by a contestant on the Flemish version of Wheel of Fortune, called Rad van Fortuin.
(I used to watch Wheel of Fortune all the time, and was very good at it.)
In the game, the following letters were showing: W _ _ S T _ _ N V _ S.
The correct answer would have been “WOESTIJNVOS,” or desert fox. But the contestant answered “WOESTIJNVIS,” or desert fish — humorous, to the Flemish at least, insofar as one rarely finds fish in the desert, or for that matter in dessert.
Anyway — stay with me now — on the show “Man Bijt Hond” there’s a weekly feature called Dossier Costers, in which a recent event of worldwide significance is linked to Gustaaf Costers, an ordinary Flemish citizen, in 6 steps.
I was able to find this episode on YouTube. It’s in a different language but — either because of my European roots or my Vicodin — it made perfect zippety-do-dah sense to me.
Let’s see if it does to you.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: algorithm, associates, chain links, claustrophobia, coincidences, connect, connecting, connections, connectivity, conspiracies, degrees of separation, dossier costers, facebook, family, family trees, flemish, friends, frigyes karinthy, gustaaf costers, internet, kevin bacon, linked, linked in, links, man bijt hon, man bites dog, networks, north carolina, ohmidog!, pain pills, past, peeing, rad van fortuin, relatives, shrinking, six degrees of separation, small world, social, social networks, twitter, unpimp my ride, vicodin, volkswagen, wheel of fortune, winston-salem, woestendiek, woestijnvis, woestijnvos, zonja woestendiek