And They Call It Puppy Love…

Anyone who knows me knows I’m completely obsessed with dogs. In love. Like that “can’t-eat, can’t-sleep, reach-for-the-stars, over-the-fence, World Series kind of stuff,” in love with dogs. (Bonus points if you can name the movie, ‘90’s kids!) I have two fur children, a fur niece, a fur nephew, and so many other pseudo fur family members who hold a place in my heart…and iPhone camera roll. With all the dogs starring in ad campaigns throughout the years, clearly I’m not the only American with the four-legged, fur-covered infatuation.

From Spuds Mackenzie and the Taco Bell Chihuahua, to Hank the Dog (of the Milwaukee Brewers) and Budweiser puppies, dogs have been marking their territory in the industry for decades. So what is it that keeps brands using and reusing concepts with dogs and why are they still some of the most successful campaigns?

Puppy Eyes Demand Attention

One of the main goals of any ad campaign is to grab consumers’ attention. An ad isn’t doing its job if it doesn’t stand out enough to make the targeted consumer stop, look, and listen, or in dog terms, sit and stay. What better way to grab attention than using something other than humans in ads? When a cute, chunky puppy comes running across your screen or a talking dog is endorsing a product rather than a human, you’ll more than likely pay more attention. I bet it’ll stick out in your memory too.

Man’s Best Friend = Trust

A must-have for any brand is trust. People who trust your brand are going to tell other people. Word of mouth plus loyalty speaks volumes and works wonders for a brand. For example, when buying a new truck, wouldn’t you take advice from your trusted next door neighbor about his new truck and the service he received before wasting time and energy at 5 or 20 different dealerships? Thus, I repeat: trust. Dogs are loyal, people trust dogs, so brands using dogs must be trustworthy brands!

Engaging All the Feels

Feelings and emotions are a huge part of who we are. They’re associated with experiences, other human interactions, and things we see and hear. Because of that, it’s nearly impossible to separate emotion and memory. When you see something involving a cute animal, how does it make you feel? For us dog people, it’s hard to see any book or movie (or pair of slippers or greeting card or coffee mug or step-stool…) or advertisement with a dog on it and not be instantly drawn. Plus, according to the ASPCA, 37-47% of all U.S. households have a dog. So not only are pups in ads stealing our emotions, they’re allowing us to feel a sense of community, a kinship, with that brand. That tug on our heartstrings has a payoff for brands: we remember the dog, remember the brand, feel connected to the brand, and, ultimately, gladly purchase that brand’s product. Boom. Emotions engaged.

Long story short, dogs are successful stars of advertising because they can capture attention and create a memory. They allow the target demographic to identify with the brand, creating a trusted bond. As consumers, we’re more likely to choose the brand we’ve bonded with over the hundreds of other less cute and fluffy brands. Thus, done right, the power of the pooch has been and can be a timeless advertising success.


Have a favorite brand that uses a dog? Let us know in the comments!

Check out AFFIRM’s furry family members!








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