I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not much of a sports fanatic. Sure, I’ll go to the occasional football game or accidentally stop on ESPN while I’m flipping channels, but generally I’m not one that’s going to turn on a football game. That said, when it comes to Super Bowl Sunday, I usually make an exception—not for the game itself, but the commercials.
Unlike most in the advertising industry this year, I waited all last week to see this year’s Super Bowl commercials. I wanted to see them just like I always have, during the game, not on YouTube days before the actual event. While countless lists will abound today about which ads were the best and which brands could’ve done better, what I noticed more than anything this year was countless commercials starring dogs.
Whether it was the new Volkswagen commercial with a heavy pooch looking to lose a few pounds, a dog bribing its owner with Doritos, a Sketchers-wearing bulldog moon walking over the finish line, or the dog who survived the 2012 apocalypse in the Chevy Silverado ad, it seemed almost every commercial during the big game this year featured man’s best friend.
While dogs have long been staples of Budweiser’s classic commercials, 2012 seems to be the year of the dogs. And when you look at consumer statistics, it makes sense to feature man’s most faithful companion.
According to the U.S. Humane Society, in 2011 39 percent of Americans owned at least one dog and 30 percent of those owners had two or more dogs. Dogs and other household pets have become staples in the American family with many owners shelling out hundreds to thousands of dollars on toys, health care, grooming, pet supplies, etc. all for their pet. Last year, the American Pet Products Association estimated that Americans spent a record $50 billion on their pets alone.
With consumers showing significant spending power when it comes to their pets, it makes sense that Super Bowl marketers would want to ride the wave by including pets any way they can in their commercials and products.
In total last night, I counted five commercials that featured a dog as one of the main characters. When done right, these commercials can not only position a product like Doritos in a new way, but also remind consumers that such products and brands are to be enjoyed by literally the whole family.
Of all the ads featuring dogs, I think my favorite was Sketchers’ :30 spot featuring Mr. Quiggly as he moon walks his way to first place. What was your favorite ad from the big game?