Dogs Play Role In Super Bowl, NBC Drama

Based on recent history, stories will be coming soon about Fox already landing some $4.2 million for spots in the 2014 Super Bowl. Who knows? Maybe there’ll be coverage about advertisers booking time at $5.5 million for 2020.

The concept of massive money for 30 seconds of video gets America’s attention each year. Less discussed are the production costs marketers absorb with all the special effects and celebrities.

In the full Super Bowl advertising ecosystem, there may be just one bargain: dogs. They work cheap and they apparently just plain work.

(The same cost effectiveness argument might be made about babies. Then again, Hollywood agents have been known to scout maternity wards, so they might not be so cheap.)

Each year, dogs have prominent roles in a run of spots in the big game. One interesting Super Bowl statistic ready for PR hay is a year-by-year count on how many spots have featured them.

The trend will surely continue on Sunday. To wit is a Toyota spot with “Big Bang Theory” star, Kaley Cuoco, joined by a little dog for little reason except to exploit viewer weakness.



How effective are dogs in promotional tactics? NBC certainly thinks quite a bit.

Looking to plug a new episode of drama “Chicago Fire” this week, the network didn’t announce a new celebrity guest star or major plot twist, but that a dog would be making appearances. In retrospect, it seems odd that a show about a fire crew didn’t have a beloved dog stalking around, but NBC reversed that by saying “Pouch” -- “a precocious rescue puppy” – would be joining Firehouse 51.

“Starting tonight, expect the cuddly Pouch to make her mark on ‘Chicago Fire,’” the network said Wednesday.

(Pouch is not a spotted Dalmation. Executive producer Derek Haas said he hasn’t encountered one while visiting firehouses in the Windy City.)

“Chicago Fire” may yet prove to be a hit, but perhaps NBC has hit on a broader concept: adding a dog might be a way to forestall jumping the shark.

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