No Bone to Pick with Dogs

Mia Cabello

Budweiser made me cry. It took less than 60 seconds. I’m tough too, so naturally, I was perplexed — what about the beer commercial packed such a punch? And I wasn’t the only viewer whose heart took a hit; Budweiser’s “Lost Dog” Super Bowl XLIX advertisement took the top-spot in USA TODAY’s Ad Meter’s consumer panel.

We love dogs — that’s the answer. More than 164 million Americans own dogs; an unquantifiable American population is dog-enthusiasts and animal-lovers, even those who prefer cats to dogs could have tuned into Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XI to see a parade of cute.

With upwards of 110 million Americans participating in the annual Super Bowl Sunday tradition, advertisers must consider — and cater to — a diverse consumer demographic.

Considering diverse tastes, advertisers choose dogs. Big, little, black, red, yellow or blue, to us dogs are dogs; and dogs cater to diversity. In addition to exuding a pure-degree love and warm-fuzzy happiness, featuring canines in commercials also negates otherwise problematic or sensitive portrayals of race, age and gender.

The most successful advertisements invoke emotion, and people enjoy feeling good about themselves when they watch TV. More so, after millennia of co-evolvement with our best buds, our connection with dogs exists in multiple forms. Based on genome research, scientists from the University of Chicago propose that our (humans’) bond with domesticated dogs is genetic.

In essence, we love dogs because we have dogs; because they love us uninhibitedly; and (and perhaps most importantly) we love them because dogs — reflections of an owner’s best self — embody the symbolism and sentiment innate to the commodification of American culture.