Pathmatics Blog

5 Famous Puppies in Advertising

March 23 2016

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I grew up with a stuffed basset hound toy that I got at my local shoe store in Rockford, Michigan. His name was Jason and he and his floppy ears accompanied me most places. Jason was not just any stuffed dog, Jason was famous! He was the mascot of the Hush Puppies shoe brand, headquartered in my hometown. Described as “a cultural icon that embodies the lighthearted spirit of its beloved basset hound,” the brand has been entrenched so deeply into my childhood that whenever I see an actual basset hound on the street, I think “hush puppies.”
 
This is not the only brand to play on the public's love of adorable puppies and dogs in their advertisements. The most famous, and arguably the “first” dog in advertising, was Nipper the RCA dog. The image of the cute terrier-mix sitting next to a gramophone was trademarked in 1929 by the Radio Corporation of America. The campaign even got a refresh in 1990 with the addition of Chipper, a young pup to accompany Nipper. The rhyming was just an added bonus for consumers...you're welcome. 
 
Another brand that conjures images of dogs and puppies is Budweiser. Even before their newly minted golden retriever puppy and Clydesdale's prancing into our hearts, Spuds MacKenzie dominated Bud Light ads in the late 80’s. In honor of today's National Puppy Day, here’s a look back at some of the most famous furry friends in advertising.

1. Andrex Puppy

The UK paper products company was faced with a problem during the early seventies while trying to release a new campaign. Television regulators blocked a television commercial concept featuring a little girl running through the house trailing a roll of toilet paper because it would “encourage wastefulness.” They solved the problem by replacing the little girl with a yellow labrador puppy in 1972, and the rest is history.

 

2. Gidget, Taco Bell

Who doesn’t remember (or even quote, on occasion) the ‘Yo quiero Taco Bell’ slogan coming from the brand’s super sidekick, Gidget. Garnering international fame and followers alike, it could be said that Gidget was born to play the most famous chihuahua in the world. Take a look at his acting chops in the commercial cross-promoting the Godzilla movie in 1998.

 

3. Bullseye, Target

The aptly named Bullseye, the white bull terrier, is as notoriously synonymous with the Target brand as their actual bullseye logo. Entering campaigns in 1999, the first featured dog was Smudgie, an American Kennel Club Champion. Fast forward to present day, and Target is still featuring the studly mascot in current digital advertising promotions like the one for "The Peanuts Movie" below.
 

 

4. Spuds Mackenzie, Budweiser

Let's not forget the aformentioned, and self-proclaimed "Super Party Animal,” Spuds Mackenzie, who was too cool for school in a slew of ads for Bud Light. Check out the “happening dude” in the 1987 ad below.
 

 

5. Nipper & Chipper, RCA

Nipper back in action, along with his new sidekick Chipper. The brand revived its famous four-legged icon in the early nineties with several ads promoting new digital sounds systems.
 
 
Advertisers are constantly looking to our furry friends to help spread a brand’s message. Take a look at one of our favorite campaigns from the Super Bowl by Subaru featuring a family of golden retrievers here. Let us know if there are any famous furry friends we missed!
 
**All trademarks & copyrights property of their respective owners.

 

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About Author

Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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