Have you noticed that dogs are appearing in more TV ads these days? They have become the stars of advertising campaigns. Their affable nature is selling all sorts of things—things related to dogs, such as dog food, but also things that have nothing to do with dogs, such as beer, cars, and insurance.
Dogs provide the right kind of personality for television commercials. They have a look that draws people in. For many people, simply seeing images of friendly dogs evokes warm feelings and in turn makes the advertisement more memorable. At a time when consumers are looking for a special connection with companies and brands, most people find dogs endearing and just plain irresistible.
Dogs featured in commercials can lend a storyline to sell the products. Viewers are more likely to watch the commercial from beginning to end, just to see how the story turns out.
One market that uses dogs to help sell products is beer. In a Super bowl ad for Budweiser, a sad-looking dog gets kicked out of an alley, only to find himself on a wet street. He looks longingly at a parade going by, and in the next shot, the dog is seen riding along in one of the parade cars. He winks at the camera, and at that point, the beer’s logo comes up on the screen. Surprise. Bet you didn’t know what that commercial was for until the end.
Here are some other beer companies that feature dogs as the main character in their commercials:
There’s a clever ad for Pepsi. The story starts with a man making a sandwich. When the doorbell rings, the man walks out of the kitchen. His Golden Retriever sees his opportunity, and grabs the sandwich off the counter. After some slurping sounds coming from another room, the dog returns to the kitchen and puts down the empty can. He then puts the family cat on the plate where the sandwich once was.
Subaru has invested in many ads with dogs—it seems to be a theme for their rugged cars. In the ad, referred to as the Stolen Parking Space, two dogs try to maneuver into a parking space, only to lose the space to another driver—a cat. In another hilarious ad for Subaru, the storyline is about two dogs that drive up to an airport. They stop to pick up another dog with a bunch of pink luggage (the luggage has a white bone on it). As they all drive away, you see one of the bags fall out of the back end of the car. But all ends well as the screen displays the Subaru slogan “Dog tested. Dog approved.”
GEICO, the auto insurance company, not only stars their Gecko to sell its product, they also use funny dog commercials. In Laughing Dog, a man looks at his most recent auto insurance bill with his dog at his side. The dog, finding out his owner spent way too much money, rolls on the floor laughing.
Another insurance company, Traveler’s Insurance, features its mascot, a dog named Chopper. Chopper, a rescue mutt turned canine celebrity, is the star of the Stolen Bone dog commercial. In this latest ad, the Travelers claim team comes to the rescue when the beloved dog finds his favorite bone stolen.
Here’s a twist in dog food commercials. Nestle Purina PetCare Company recently launched their new Beneful ad with the intention of speaking directly to dogs. The 23-second commercial (showing now only in German), features sounds that are audible only to canines, including squeaks, pings and a high frequency tone, designed to get a dog’s attention.
Even if you don’t like a product, having a dog in its ad might just convince you to buy it—or at least to watch the commercial again if it shows up during your favorite TV show.