Love the Pups, Hate the Products – The Curse of Super Bowl Dog Ads

When watching Super Bowl ads, sometimes I love the pups but hate the products.

Could this face convince you to buy a beach vacation?
Heck yeah!

My favorite part of Downton Abbey is seeing the single wag of a labrador’s tale in the opening credits. I rate movies by how many dogs appear in them. Is it any wonder I like commercials featuring dogs?

With Sunday’s Super Bowl, I’m sure I’ll see plenty of dog commercials. But even when I love the pups, I often hate the products.

Here are some examples of what I mean.

Athletic Dogs Sell Bad Dog Food

When I hear the first few notes of Mozart, I instantly look up at the screen. My favorite dog commercial is on.

Do you see what I mean? It’s adorable on so many levels.

It’s beautifully shot and edited. It features a beautiful Cardigan (and you know how rarely we see corgis online nowadays). And I love how it references every human’s need to figure out what their dog is thinking about when he paddles his feet during a nap.

(Personally I think our guesses are way off mark. Someday they’ll invent MRI machines that can take readings on moving creatures. And then we’ll find that the part of a dog’s brain that lights up while chasing in his sleep is the same as the area lit up in a philosophy professor’s brain when he reads Kierkegaard. Our dogs aren’t chasing bunnies. They’re thinking of Danish existentialists.)

Does the cute commercial convince me that it’s the best way to feed my dog? No way. Will it tempt me to buy a food one dog food reviewer calls “below average.” Not a chance.

I almost feel guilty for liking the commercial for the pups when I hate the product so much.

Puppies and Horses Sell Undrinkable Swill

When the product is especially terrible, it takes two species to sell it. At least that’s what Budweiser has discovered.

How bad is Budweiser? Bad enough that it takes a team of horses and a puppy to tempt people to drink it.

I wonder if I cold hold it down if they threw in a few kittens, polar bear cubs, and frolicking otters?

Super Bowl Surprises

I’m sure the Super Bowl will feature several puppy ads. But to play it safe, I’m probably better off getting my dog fix by watching Puppy Bowl.

I’d hate it if I felt compelled to buy a really bad product because of a particularly compelling spokesdog.

Train Your Dog Month Challenge

Train Your Dog Month ChallengeTomorrow, stop by to tell us if you joined the Train Your Dog Month Challenge along with our fabulous co-hosts from Rescued Insanity and Alfie’s Blog.

One lucky winner will get a donation to their favorite animal charity and a special prize pack as well.

Can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to.

Your Turn: Does a cute commercial with adorable animals make you feel more positively about a company or product?



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  1. We just enjoy watching cute commercials, but I don’t think we would ever buy a product because of them. We posted our challenge post today, but will add it to your link list tomorrow. We were unsure if today was the day or tomorrow and we rarely post on Saturdays, so we just did it today.

  2. I feel like you – love the commercials, am indifferent to the product. I don’t think I’ve ever been swayed by a commercial with or without dogs…but realize it’s a good marketing technique and many people will at least remember the brand. Subaru has done that with the car ads…I’ve never bought a Subaru…but sure love their ads.

  3. Audi’s superbowl commercial is vile. I hate everything about it and I’m hoping they get a lot of flack for it.

    As for Budweiser, well I don’t drink it but they do have some pretty awesome commercials, IMO. :-) The puppy bowl is your better bet.

  4. Hate the products, LOVE both those ads. That Lab and Clydesdale one really gets my eyes all watery. I’m glad they are sharing these commercials on YouTube because I’ll be watching the Puppy Bowl instead of the Super Bowl, too.

  5. It’s a dog’s tailwag after my heart, in the Downton Abbey’s opening credits. It always, always, always makes me smile. The butt is just so clean and brushed and the gait so right. I thought I was the only one who really noticed!

    As for the budweiser commercial, well, it does use two of my favorite animals. The big clodsdale (excuse my lack of proper term for that breed of horse I know its something else but all I can think of this early in the morning is their huge clopping horsefeet) and the puppy. But do I drink beer? no. I am not likely to drink budweiser anyway. It’s clever, though, how they make the commercial. But no, it’s not going to make me drink beer. It will just make me want to watch the commercial over and over because it is so heart tugging.

  6. Oh, Pamela, it pains me to think that you misspent your youth by not developing a taste for beer. :-)

    The thing about effective advertising is that it is subliminal. People reach for a brand that has been pounded into their brains without realizing they are often buying a product with the most annoying commercials. Thank heavens for the DVR.

  7. Darn it *tissue to eyes*

  8. Great post! I completely agree with you. And I, too, LOVE the tail swish in Downton Abbey.

  9. Of course, I love that ProPlan ad! While Pembroke Corgis are common, Cardigan Corgis are not (thank goodness). Hopefully this ad does not put them on the map!

    But, I would never buy that crappy food….nothing from Purina at all. They’ve just got the big bucks to pay for great advertising!

  10. Vlad & Barkly's Dee says:

    These commercials never make me feel better about any big-name companies–especially the ones sitting in the vet’s office. You’re right. The commercials have an overload of cute that’s so heavy that Hercules couldn’t pick it up and throw it away even if he were on anabolic steroids. Unfortunately for the big names, I started a LOT of research into canine nutrition 14 years ago when my Airedale developed food allergies. Back then I WAS buying into the commercials I saw in magazines & on TV; since I still had a school-age child at home and didn’t find the time for research until I forced making time for finding out why my precious furbaby was so sick. Never again!

    This year, there’s not only the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet; but Hallmark Channel is having the Kitten Bowl that’s advertised as “a total cat fight”; and NatGeoWild is having the Fish Bowl where, “. . .special guests include puppies, cats, kids, a scuba diver, crazy red crabs and even a surprise visit from my good friends at Nat Geo WILD, Dr. Pol and Cesar Millan.” I still have to look up times for all 3 and see if all of them are going to be played at the same time.

  11. Even when I was able to swallow, I preferred wine over beer but I love the Budweiser commercials. Have watched this puppy one a gazillion times. The Clydesdale jumping that fence is poetry to my eyes. I yearn to be on his back when he does. Draft horses are gentle giants, but one does need to be wary of their feet – so huge!

    Though the Audi TT Quattro is my favorite cars to drive (even more than Porsche): it hugs the road warmly and securely, with a Bose stereo to enhance the drive. But, sniff, I agree – the ad this year is disgusting and will be voted one of the worst ever.

  12. Sorry – “car,” not “cars.” Messed up on my editing. And that Corgi is adorable…though I’m no longer swayed by the products….

  13. No polar bears for Budweiser–Coca cola has the polar bear trademarked to sell *their* undrinkable swill.

  14. I do drink Bud on occasion. I’ve yet to find wine that really can be paired with a pepperoni, jalapeno and pineapple pizza; the search goes on. I don’t think my decision would be based on a puppy commercial. If an ad is offensive I think I would react differently.

    However, stick Johnny Galecki in an Elantra and I may take a second look.

  15. Love the puppy & horses too, shame about what it’s promoting. By the way I am reading a book called “How Dogs Love Us” and it’s about how a neuroscientist gets his and other dogs to willingly & happily go into an MRI without sedation to see what their brain is doing and therefore can we deduce from that what they’re thinking ? Only half way through, will let you know the outcome!

  16. I have to admit, my favorite part of the Super Bowl is the commercials. I generally love Budweiser commercials, but also hate the beer.

  17. I think the win-win this year will be the Tim Tebow commercial …hunky Tim Tebow and puppies, no down side at all, and I don’t think anyone will even notice what the brand being pitched is…so I won’t have to worry about that..just pure entertainment!

  18. I love the commercials, hate the products, too! I adore Corgis — Cardigans especially since Ducky is part Cardi — but I haven’t used Purina dog food in over 15 years. And I hate beer in general, but especially Budweiser. Tho I do make exceptions for a really good German beer.

  19. Adverts very rarely persuade me to buy anything – I just don’t trust them! When watching an advert or film featuring any animal I just look to see if the animal seems happy. If they do then I will happily enjoy the commercial, but if it isn’t (Like the polo advert from a little while ago!) Then I will switch over until the ad has finished.

  20. it is good that you aren’t swayed by a cute commercial, but sadly too many people are