A Saatchi & Saatchi colleague recently sent me a new commercial for Pedigree dog food. It’s a fantastic piece of advertising from TBWA, Toronto. No annoying voice over, just fascinating ultra-slow motion shots of dogs leaping in the air to chomp down on a single nugget of Pedigree’s vitality+. I immediately forwarded it to dog lovers I know. That’s what you want in an age of skeptical consumers who have the power to block unwanted advertising messages from reaching them. Make something so good, people want to spread it around to their friends. It’s garnered over a million views on YouTube since going up at the end of February.
The commercial brilliantly conveys vitality and great taste in an execution that breaks with all the boring conventions of the past 50 years for conveying those benefits. As I said to a dog lover friend of mine, who is also a market researcher, it’s the first dog food commercial I’ve ever seen that communicates great canine taste appeal without showing the animal — who we know was probably half starved to death before the commercial shoot — lunging at a bowl full of food. Take a look, and you’ll see what I mean.
At first, I got all hot under the collar, because there was no acknowledgment on the YouTube page running the Pedigree version that the idea wasn’t original. We live in an age of mash-ups, consumer generated content and transparency. I don’t think people have a problem with borrowing ideas, or adapting them for another purpose, as TBWA has done. But you need to acknowledge that you did.
Neither Pedigree nor TBWA are at fault, because it seems that wherever this spot appears on YouTube, it was posted by others. Indeed, TBWA does call out on their web site that “the campaign was inspired by the talented directors at Pleix.” Unfortunately, the post I saw on YouTube credits the idea to TBWA without any mention of its original source.