I have a love-hate relationship with TV commercials starring dogs. Many make me laugh. Some move me to tears. More than a few, though, cause me to cringe.
With 2012 coming to an end, I present my 10 favorite commercials of the year starring dogs, presented in no particular order. Almost half feature a cringe-worthy moment, but nothing so bad that I can’t suspend belief and still adore the pups.
1. “The Bark Side” by Volkswagen
The first of three VW commercials to make this list, I love this one the most as it combines two of my favorite things: dogs and Star Wars. FYI, Dogster Editor-in-Chief Janine Kahn interviewed the pet parent of Bones Mello, the Italian Greyhound in the AT-AT costume, long before he became a TV star for barking the last note of “The Imperial March” in this ad.
2. “Man’s Best Friend” by Doritos
While I don’t dig the idea of the family dog taking out the family cat, the gorgeous Great Dane in this commercial steals my heart. It was the winning entry in Frito Lay’s annual Crash the Super Bowl ad contest. Watch the blooper reel to see more of Huff the Great Dane in action.
3. “Here Weego” by Bud Light
Yay for rescue dogs! And yay for the $250,000 that Anheuser-Busch Companies donated to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation as part of the Facebook campaign tied to this commercial.
4. “The Dog Strikes Back” by Volkswagen
I adore the overweight St. Bernard–Australian Shepherd in this commercial who decides to get in shape and chase a passing VW Bug after failing to fit through the doggie door. He climbs, runs, and swims to “Get Up Offa That Thing” by James Brown, while ignoring food dropped to the floor from the smallest family-member’s high chair.
My only complaint — and the reason I love “The Bark Side” more — is that, once fit, the dog easily exits through the doggie door to follow the previously mentioned Bug down the street. He stays on lawns, but I can’t help but be bothered by the sight of a dog running loose around a neighborhood. The “surprise” ending quickly makes up for it, though. More Star Wars! Be sure to watch the making-of video of this commercial to see more of Bolt, the canine actor.
5. “Inside Every Good Dog Is a Great Dog” by Purina
This commercial makes me cry EVERY SINGLE TIME. The accompanying song, “Great” by Tony Rogers, tells of the patience often required of pet parents, while the images show the joy of having dogs in your life, both as family members and service dogs.
6. “Sled” by Suzuki
The sled dogs in this commercial get to ride inside a warm car for a change and jam to 50 Cent’s “Movin On Up.” I was amused. The wife of the Eskimo who traded in their sled for a Suzuki? Not so much.
7. “Bad Dog” by Volkswagen
I love the bulldog in this VW commercial about the Jetta’s keyless entry system, as well as the soundtrack of Johnny Cash singing “Dirty Old Egg-Suckin’ Dog,” but the thought of what the poor pup will have to go through to remove the keys he swallowed makes me sad.
8. “Good Dog” by Travelers Insurance
This most recent Travelers commercial starring Chopper has him wiping his feet before coming inside, recycling plastic, and carrying in the groceries to show that good behavior has its rewards. Good dog!
9. “Dogtastrophe” by Sears
This commercial spotlights not-so-good dog behavior: chewing shoes, smashing flat-screen TVs, and driving the family car to Sears after easily ordering replacements for it all online. Bad dogs!
10. “Dog Tested: Beach” by Subaru
I can’t choose just one favorite moment from this car commercial about a family of dogs spending a day at the beach. Penny the Bulldog drives AND surfs. Stella the Blue Heeler mix destroys Paris the Poodle’s sand castles, eliciting a growl from the fluffy white pup. Daisy the Great Dane sunbathes on her back. And Kasey the Collie mix jumps in and shakes her wet coat all over the car, much to Penny’s annoyance. It’s all fun. See the other clever commercials in this series on the Subaru website.
Let’s hear from you, readers! Which of the above do you adore most? Or did your favorite commercial starring dogs not make my list? Please share links to the ones you love in the comments below, and feel free to sound off about the ones you hate — I’m still shaking my fist at you, Skechers.