Off the Blimp and into the Dog House
My name is Oscar. I am a self-appointed spokesperson for dogs and animals of all kinds. This is an open letter to MetLife who may retire my pal Snoopy to his dog house. I asked myself why, when my beagle friend has been a part of the insurer’s brand since 1985 and may now be forced to retire. The injustice of being asked to remove your dog collar and spend the rest of your days swatting flies dreaming about Charlie Brown, Lucy and all the Peanuts friends. It makes me howl at the thought of no more Snoopy on MetLife’s advertising.
I asked my Humom to be my guest researcher for this blog post. I had to bribe her with a treat and new purse to understand why advertisers use animals in advertising campaigns. She explained that the bond with animals and icons like Snoopy and me is an enduring, rewarding relationship. We give our owners unconditional love. In turn, they consider us family.
I was told a man named Leo Burnett was at the forefront of using animals in advertising. He developed cartoon characters like Tony the Tiger, Charlie the Tuna, and Morris the Cat in the 1950’s. The use of animals in advertising create positive emotions with humans. We can be comical and have a major cuteness factor. Okay, I may be a bit biased.
Mom found dogs she called Icons in advertising. I never gave any of them a sniff in person, but they must be great:
- Spuds Mackenzie – Anheuser Busch
- Bulls Eye – Target
- Nipper – RCA
- Gidget- Taco Bell
Animals are used frequently in the automotive and insurance industries. Travelers Insurance didn’t hire me for their DRTV spot, where a dog guards his bone. That commercial appealed to me as bones are my most valuable assets, too. (Mom’s insurance term she made me use.)
Subaru had a marketing campaign and website stating their cars are “Dog tested”. I begged my mom to buy one since her driving is terrible. No seat belt could protect me when she’s at the wheel. She just stared me down.
Pets should be the heroes of your marketing stories. Humans have positive emotional connections when seeing and receiving advertising utilizing Animals. The visual of seeing Snoopy on MetLife’s advertising contributed to the $5.3 billion the company earned in 2015.
The insurance industry uses real and cartoon animals more than any other industry. Dogs are the most commonly used followed by duck, cat , horse, bear, and a gecko. Animal spokespersons with high brand visibility include:
- Gecko – Geico
- Maxwell the Pig – Geico
- Stag – the Hartford
- Snoopy – MetLife
Mom told me it costs MetLife around $12 million annually to license the rights to use the Peanuts characters. If Snoopy goes up, up, and away and is no longer the face of the MetLife brand, all animals will be sad. Will they create a new brand icon or send Snoopy back to an empty dog house? The future remains to be seen.
I packed my bags last night and am ready for stardom. MetLife I will meet you at any of your offices for an audition. I am ready for my closeup.
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