Tue Cute Tuesday – Tue Cute or Tue Creepy?

I love the following video. And I hate it.

Let me count the ways I love it:

  • It has beautiful dogs running everywhere.
  • Beautiful dogs that are well-trained.
  • Oh, who am I kidding, it has tons of beautiful dogs. What’s not to love?

And yet, I hate it. I won’t even deign to discuss the fact that a huge, multinational corporation (Nestle’) is trying to convince you to feed your dog crappy food.

Nor will I mention the dearth of mixed-breed dogs in a commercial touting the idea of “real dogs.”

Nope, I hate it because it’s part of an American cultural trend I despise. The trend that has multimillionaire hosts on “news-ish” programs telling their viewers that people who live in cities, who believe higher education is important, and who vote Democratic are “out of touch.” They’re not real Americans.

Yes, I know this is just a dog food commercial. But I think it’s part of the same divisive rhetoric used to sell people something by causing them to disdain their neighbors and fellow citizens.

I’m not too worried about this trend in the end. It only works on people who watch too much television. Everyone else is out in the world just getting along with each other the best they can.

And if purebred dog people can get along with mixed-breed dog people; folks who dress their dogs with those who don’t; agility competitors with professional couch potatoes; I guess my nation won’t fall apart any time soon.

So watch the commercial. Am I too sensitive? Is it just a cute dog commercial? Or is it an insidious attempt to sell people stuff by telling them to not behave like “those people?”

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  1. Oh, I’m a skeptic and fully believe in conspiracy theories, so I’m with you on this one. There’s no such thing as a ‘just cute’ commercial. These things cost a lot of money, and the only purpose they’re made for is to make a lot more money that it’s been invested in them. So yes, it’s hard sale and advertising by means of subliminal messages. The dogs are cute, though, I have to admit. So are the dogs – amongst which a gorgeous whippet – used for the latest Bakers ad that’s running here in the UK at the moment. Now, I wouldn’t give this stuff to George in a million years, but I bet some people do just because the cute dogs in the ad (one from each of the most popular breeds) look in tip top shape. I’d bet my fortune that they’re not fed on what they’re advertising!

    P.S. We live in a city and believe higher education is crucial! My husband and I have just had one of our marathon debates about the best secondary school to send our daughter to so that she can achieve her potential. She’s only half-way through primary school, but one must plan ahead, right? Completely out of touch, I guess.

    Lovely post, Pamela. Thanks.

  2. I might have seen one mutt there… Funny thing is, I don’t think it’s going to sell a lot of Alpo. But it might cause a downturn in the dog grooming industry. :)

    I’m not American, though I consume a lot of American media (news, faux news, etc.), so I know the issues of which you speak. Maybe I’m just not sensitive enough, but I didn’t see it as “anti-city” or “anti-higher education.” I just saw a “let dogs be dogs” message. I don’t mind a backlash against the “dogs as accessories” idea– you know, the kind of person that choose a dog based on whether the breed matches her hair colour. But the first guy they show is pretty ordinary, just a slacker walking his dog waiting impatiently for… uh, yeah. All types of people are dissed, and dogness is glorified. Too bad they’re selling Alpo! :)

  3. I think I tend to ignore the ad part of these videos and take just as a video. The Alpo thing at the end is a bit much. Can’t figure out why that stuff is still on the market and how they can make a video with those messages and sell this product.

    • I think they sell lots of product because it’s cheap, available in every supermarket, and most people don’t know any better. The commercial is definitely beside the point. :)

  4. Hmmm…speaking as an ex-ad person, I find it all rather contrived. And that Alpo branding at the end, a bit of a last-minute thought. Not sure whether it goes any deeper than being a dogfood commercial really.

    Hey, that should have been Sage rolling in the mud! She would’ve been a natural for the part :p

    • As a totally uninformed person, I think ads send all kinds of messages and very few of them actually sell the product. I read somewhere that advertisements placed for million dollars on the Super Bowl are notoriously unsuccessful at selling their product. But they’re certainly selling something or no company would spend the money. :)

      I wonder if they “taught” the dogs to roll in the mud or just found pups that do it naturally.

      • Ahh the superbowl ads. Every agency’s dream gig.
        These days, with all the clutter out there, it’s a wonder anyone notices or cares about ads anymore. Too many ways to switch off and fast forward. I’m pretty glad to be out of it!

  5. you know, this is confusing to me. i buy our dogs some fancy grain-free organic food, but always had a soft spot in my heart for alpo because unlike most dog food brands, they tend to use bullies in a lot of their advertising, which i liked.
    but you are right about the not-so-subtle class warfare in this ad.
    and where does this leave me, who drinks soy lattes from time to time, reads the newspaper, and visits nice urban parks, but also loves to watch my dog get filthy in the mud?
    in any case, this makes me really glad i don’t watch tv!

    • Where does it leave you?

      Well, Aleksandra, you may have a real dog but you’re obviously not a real person. Real people drink plain, old coffee and only use newspapers for starting fires. What are you thinking? :)

      And yeah, I’m glad I don’t have a TV either.

  6. Maybe it is because I am not American, but I know I am very tired of using pleas to one’s patriotism in order to sell products. Canadian companies do it too and I am equally annoyed with them. I no more want to hear about how real American dogs eat Alpo than I do about how real Canadians drink Tim Horton’s coffee.

    That said, I couldn’t help but smile throughout this entire commercial, especially at the rolling in the mud part. It may be irritatiting but it still is dang cute.

    • I don’t need to tell another historian that patriotic programming has been used for centuries and it’s not likely to go away any time soon.

      My favorite part of the ad was when the two groups of dogs passed through each other as they came around the fountain without any bumps. It was very precise.

  7. I rather enjoy it with the sound turned off! đŸ˜› I think it’s funny how the visual seems to be a bit in contrast with the words. The dogs are all having fun together, not worried at all about whether their owners are good Americans or not!

    Speaking of ads, the one I LOVE is the Banker’s Insurance ad with the dog worrying about where to hide his bone! Now I think that one is clever!

    • Really great point about how the behavior of the dogs tells a different story from the narration. I’ll have to try watching it again without the sound.

      I haven’t seen the insurance ad you’re talking about but it sounds cute. If you ever see it online, let me know.

  8. I watched it like I watch every commerical, just for the cute story! I don’t put any faith in any product, I just like the entertainment. The message was great, let your dog be a dog!!