Why are dogs so popular in marketing?

03rd October 2018

Animals have been used in marketing since marketing began. Yet, there seems to be no animal more popular in the marketing world than dogs. Man’s best friend is an incredibly useful tool when it comes to advertising a product or a service… and don’t marketers know it!

Over the last decade dogs have been appearing all the more frequently across adverts; on television, in magazines, on billboards and across every social media platform ever! The appeal of dogs for consumers is motivation to use the beloved pets whenever appropriate.

But why do animals have this effect on consumers? Research from Neuromarketing suggests that the presence of dogs in advertisements and marketing campaigns increases “heuristic processing and concurrent processing” meaning that it invokes some form of reaction from the viewer which is the primary objective of any marketing campaign.

So with this being said, we thought we’d share some of our favourite dog-based ads from the last decade!

The Dulux Dog 

The Dulux Dog first won the hearts of the nation over 50 years ago in 1961 – so to commemorate the Old English Sheepdogs 50th birthday, he made a return to our TV screens in 2011 having been away for over a decade!

The pooch has become synonymous with the Dulux brand over the years, so much so, that the long-haired hounds are called “Dulux dogs” rather than Old English Sheep Dogs. A simple on-screen visual of the infamous dog is enough for viewers to know that what they are about to see is being brought to them by Dulux.

The Andrex Puppy 

The adorable labrador puppies have been used by Andrex toilet paper for over 75 years to establish their brand as market leaders and maintain it for well over half a century.

The puppies offer an overload of cuteness that simply can’t be ignored by viewers, regardless of whether they’re dog lovers or not.

The 75th anniversary of the pups that debuted with Andrex in 1942 saw a commemorative ad that consisted of an older, more well seasoned apricot labrador, look back on some ‘home videos’ of historic Andrex ads before being joined by her family and a vintage small labrador puppy. The theme for the advert was “loved by families for 75 years” and the final shot of a modern day family with their 2 labradors cements this thought beautifully.

Buster the Boxer 

The Buster the Boxer animation was brought to our screens John Lewis as the star of their 2016 Christmas Advert.

Every year the expectation and excitement surrounding the John Lewis Christmas advert seems to grow a little more. Often, the adverts are subject to sever scrutiny, but the small film style project in 2016 met each and every expectation and more.

The advert told the story of a family who have got their daughter a much desired trampoline for Christmas. We are then shown a clip of the family boxer watching despairingly out of the window as other animals of the night try out the brand-new christmas gift.

The ad ends with the daughter running towards the trampoline on christmas morning, just to be beaten to it by Buster the Boxer who dives onto the trampoline and proceeds to bounce looking overjoyed.

The theme of the advert is ‘Gifts that everyone will love’ and this was artistically and creatively displayed through the use of a furry friend that everyone most certainly fell in love with.

Flash Dog 

Flash Dog was brought to us by P&G to advertise market leading multi-surface cleaner, Flash.

The 2016 advert features a beautifully white labradoodle singing a reworded version of the iconic Flash superhero theme tune. The humorous advert is designed to grab the attention of the target audience, an era of homeowners that have grown up with this song on their television screens.

Combining the nostalgia of the song with the adorable dog, the fact that he is singing and the humour in the lyrics – and you have a recipe for success.

The dog expresses his confusion as to why all the mud that he had previously shaken off across the house has now vanished through the medium of song… obviously.

The dog’s owner joins her pet in harmony explaining how she’d already cleaned the whole house with just one simple product – you guessed it, Flash.

The theme behind the motivation behind the advert was ‘Cleans up the impossible’ and while of course the advert is incredibly silly and unrealistic, it does reflect the high performance level of the product all whilst being incredibly funny, engaging and most importantly, memorable.

So what can we conclude about when marketing and dogs collide?

  1. Dogs get people’s attention – The most basic goal of all ad campaigns is to get the attention of viewers, and nothing does this better than dogs.
  2. Provoke emotions – People love animals, and no more so than dogs. Dogs are the most popular pet across the UK with 26 percent of people in Great Britain said to own their own pooch. 
  3. Dog lovers will love the ads – Regardless of whether the advert that is produced is even very good, dog lovers will support the campaign regardless just because it features their favourite furry friend.

Harry Pettitt

Digital Marketing Executive

Harry works within our digital team and helps to maintain and build our clients, and Zero Above’s, social media presence as well as delivering digital marketing across multiple platforms.