Dogs have been part of our ad culture for years, but in 2015 we’re entering a whole new era of puppy-led advertising. Why can dogs sell anything?
Let’s look at Budweiser’s 2015’s Superbowl ad, Lost Dog. The 60-second spot cost a whopping $9 million and featured no beer… just one cute puppy. So, why did Bud ditch pints for puppies?
WE’VE TURNED TO ANIMALS IN OUR ADS BECAUSE THEY HELP UNIVERSALIZE OUR STORYTELLING. TO US, IT’S LESS ABOUT PUPPIES SPECIFICALLY, AND MORE ABOUT HOW […] IT HELPS US TELL A STORY AROUND OUR QUALITY BEER.
– BRIAN PERKINS, VICE PRESIDENT AT BUDWEISER
And it’s not just Budweiser making a pup the star of their commercials. Many other big names have caught the puppy fever, with airline KLM’s Lost and Found, DR Pepper’s Mop Dog and Volkswagen’s Woofwagen all recently featuring man’s best friend.
So what’s all the furry fuss about? I think there are 3 main points here.
– Dogs are universal – We attach meanings, memories and morals to them that far transcend nationality, race or gender.
– Dogs evoke emotion – “We associate dogs with some of our happiest times in life, or some of the times when we’re sad, and they’re the ones who are always beside us.” says Kevin Paul Scott, co-founder of ADDO Worldwide.
– Dogs have the cute factor – Yep. We should never underestimate the power of the squeeze factor.
So do these doggy endeavours really pay off in the world of video marketing? Well, yes, says Kit Yarrow, professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University; “When it comes to Super Bowl advertising, the only thing more powerful than an ample bosom is a puppy”. Budweiser’s Lost Dog undoubtedly proves this theory. TiVo said the commercial was the most engaging Super Bowl spot among viewers, causing the biggest spike in active viewership of any of the ads from 2015. Yarrow concludes that “Only a psychopath could resist the emotional pull of a puppy.”
The takeaway is that a successful ad doesn’t necessarily have to push a product, it just has to make that all important connection with the audience. Like the relationship between man and his dog, loyal, loving and honest – we immediately associate these qualities with the brand. While it’s a tried and tested formula – it certainly seems to be a winning one. All you’ve got to do is build a strong bond between viewer and brand, and nothing builds a stronger bond, quite like a dog.