The television world has discovered the attraction of adding canines to their series or advertisements. Watching TV last night there was a national commercial for Toyota in which a Saint Bernard greeted the receptionist with a couple of barks and joined his family at her desk. The receptionist understood the dog and said a test drive could be arranged. It ended with the dog sitting in the driver’s seat of a pickup with his head out the window. If I’d been in the market for a new vehicle, it may have swayed me to check out a Toyota, being the animal lover that I am.
There is also a local commercial for a Chevrolet dealer that has a large black dog named “Cruz” sitting in the back of a pickup while the salesman is making his pitch. Again, he appealed to the dog lovers in the TV viewing audience. Does it work? Given the amount of dogs appearing in commercials these days, I would say it definitely works.
Pet owners represent a large market. According to American Pet Products Association, we spent 55.72 billion dollars on pet products in 2013, with that amount estimated to rise at least 3 billion in 2014. Why not use TV to appeal to the pet lover in all of us?
Commercials are not the only television programing that added dogs in their lineup. Several popular TV series include a dog or companion pet as a regular character. An example of this would be CBS Person of Interest, which has a Belgian Shepherd Malinois dog named Bear. He adds a lot of heart to the series, in addition to being a serious threat for the bad guys. Occasional misbehavior adds a comedic element to the drama. Recently, Bear yanked a book off the bookshelf and raked the hidden treats on to the floor. It was amusing because a dog that can sniff out bodies, drugs and individuals would have no trouble sniffing out his hidden treats.
I certainly don’t want to dismiss other companion pets on TV, but recently, it seems to me that dogs have stolen the spotlight. In February, Westminster Kennel Club’s first ever agility trial included mixed breed dogs and the Agility Championship competition was advertised and televised. Agility is the fasting growing dog sport in the country and promises more TV coverage. There’s even a cable TV channel specifically for dogs.