Super Bowl Pitch-Pups

Love ‘em or leave ‘em?
By Lisa Wogan, February 2012, Updated February 2015

Last week, we blogged about the teaser for Volkswagen’s Super Bowl 46 ad, which featured a chorus of dogs barking “The Imperial March” from Star Wars. A continuation of 2011’s Super Bowl theme, “The Bark Side” was essentially an ad for an ad, and it has logged more than 11 million hits online.

On Wednesday, the carmaker released the actual game day ad, which stars a beautiful dog namd Bolt. Does it live up to the hype?

Is he wearing a canine fat-suit at the start? Keeping dogs fit and active is definitely on message for us here at Bark.

Two other dog-themed commercials are in the mix this year—so far. One, a spot for Suzuki, lands four lovely sled dogs comfortably in a Kizashi—where they groove to hip-hop as they cross the snowy tundra.

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Dogs are usually an excellent addition to most commercial messages. According to a story in Media Life Magazine, ads with animals outperformed ads featuring celebrities by 14 percent during last year’s Super Bowl, and among the most effective ads during the 2011 game was a Doritos spot featuring a surprisingly strong Pug. 

But building a pitch around a dog can also be a risky proposition. A teaser for Skechers’ Super Bowl contender—a sneakers-wearing French Bulldog on a Greyhound race track—has garnered justifiable criticism for celebrating the cruel sport of dog racing.

I’ll be watching for the full Skechers commercial (ugh!) and more pups in ads this Sunday night, let me know what you think.

Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom.

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