2019 Super Bowl Dog Ads

Canine commercials will steal the show—again
By Karen B. London PhD, January 2019

The Super Bowl incites many emotions. There is excitement about the Patriots being in the Super Bowl for the ninth time in 18 seasons and disgust about that statistic. Many people dread the expected weather-related issues in Atlanta, which rarely faces winter storms like the one predicted this week. Fear has been expressed about the world’s busiest airport dealing with the large crowds. Anger abounds about the controversy surrounding kneeling during the national anthem and the league’s response to it, which caused many artists to decline invitations to perform the halftime show.

I certainly don’t know who will win the game, how the halftime show will be received, how the weather will impact the city and how the airport will be able to handle the rush so soon after the (temporary) end to the partial government shutdown. However, I do know that I am going to feel joy thanks to all the ads featuring dogs. I’d sooner forego the chips and guacamole than pass on seeing the canine commercials. Costing more than $5 million per 30-second spot, the Super Bowl ads are often incredible, especially when dogs appear in them. With a viewing audience of over 100 million, these mini epics have a wide reach and can elicit a lasting impression.

Avocados From Mexico has a new commercial that highlights their relationship with Canine Companions For Independence (CCI). The mission of CCI is to enhance the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support. The spot shows dogs performing such tasks as opening the fridge, closing drawers, delivering items to the counter (in this case, avocados) and using the remote to turn on the TV to the big game. There are shots of puppies playing, too, so they are clearly going for maximum cuteness. There is a disclaimer on the screen saying “Avocados should not be fed to dogs”.

A teaser to the commercial features singer and actress Kristen Chenoweth coaching three dogs to sing the Avocados From Mexico jingle.

Weather Tech’s full ad will debut during the game, but a teaser shows a Golden Retriever named Scout strutting into work with his badge on. Views of Scout alternate between shots of his face and his feet, close up enough to see a spot on the tongue and freshly cut nails.

No Super Bowl commercial roundup would be complete without Budweiser. This year, their spot adds wind power to their usual emphasis on horsepower. It features a Dalmatian enjoying a ride on a carriage being pulled by the famous Budweiser Clydesdales. The dog's face is moving in the breeze to Bob Dylan’s song “Blowin’ in the Wind” as they ride through an area full of wind turbines. The final tag line is, “Now brewed with wind power for a better tomorrow.” Listen to the words of Dylan’s classic ode to social consciousness carefully and you may be struck with the subversive message underlying the lovely camera work.

The Bark creative director Cameron Woo notes:

“As the camera pulls back from the close-up of the Dalmation’s beatific expression, ears flapping in the wind—the shot slowly reveals the dog perched atop stacks of wooden beer cases loaded on a horse drawn delivery truck. With the familiar chords and inimitable voice of Dylan setting the mood, it appeared for a few seconds that the dog was riding on top of a freight train—a nod to another time, another social era, and a tribute to another American, Woody Guthrie.”

What was your take on these canine commercials and let us know if we missed any other canine screen time during the biggest sporting event of the year …

Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.

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