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Automotive Advertising’s Canine Stars

The bond between vehicle-owners and their canine passengers is as old as the history of motorised transport itself and remains a popular theme of viewer affinity in commercials for automotive brands.

According to the knowledgeable ‘Wag’ website, being in a moving vehicle is an adventure for our canine friends that triggers an innate sense of hunting.

And with up to a staggering 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, an open window allows them access to a plethora of exciting smells and different scents that are pure heaven to them.

1. Volvo Trucks, Joyride

Advertising Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg, Sweden

Directed by filmmaker Daniel Lundh, the pleasurably upbeat ‘Joyride’ commercial highlights Volvo’s Turbo Compound technology that saves fuel and money, making both truck drivers and their canine companions happy by staying on the road longer with fewer fuel stops.

The soundtrack of “The Perfect Day” was specially composed for the campaign by Swedish music-artist, Rico Won.

2. MINI, Dogs Trust

Advertising Agency: The Brooklyn Brothers, London, UK

With the unprecedented number of over 10 million pet dogs in the United Kingdom, that are increasingly becoming an essential part of joyous everyday life for many families, MINI has teamed up with Dogs Trust, the country’s largest dog welfare charity, to become a dominantly dog-friendly automotive brand.

The ‘MINI Dogs Trust’ commercial is part of an integrated communication campaign that will welcome dogs into dealership showrooms where canine behaviour experts can advise their owners on how to keep dogs happy on car journeys.

3. AA Roadside Assist, Love That Feeling

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

Directed by the filmmaking duo of Michael Gelfand, and Ian Letts, known as ‘The Perlorian Brothers’, the scenario about a shaggy dog, trapped at home during a pandemic lockdown, and dreaming about that loving feeling of being on the road again, makes for fun viewing.

The commercial stars Tukker, a shaggy, wool yarn covered, dog-puppet, designed by Latvian master puppeteers, Santa Didžus, and Dana Lāce, in Riga.

The breezy “Drinkee” soundtrack is by the New York house music duo, Sofi Tukker Band, after which AA’s shaggy-dog Tukker was named.

4. Volkswagen, Woofwagen

Advertising Agency: adam&eveDDB, London, UK

Directed by filmmaker Ivan Zacharias, ‘Woofwagen’ features an inspiringly conceived and fun scenario, of matching 36 different dog breeds to individual car drivers of various VW models.

The integrated multi-screen VW corporate campaign, also underscores the human truth that it would be hard to find a more reliably loving and appreciative car companion than one’s own pet dogs.

5. Subaru Forester, Runaway Canoe

Advertising Agency Red Urban, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Subaru has a long brand communication history of featuring canine stars in highly popular commercials.

Directed by talented Puerto Rican filmmaker Luis Gerard, and filmed in Ontario’s scenic nature and wildlife location of Rockwood, the scenario about a family camping trip that turns into a rescue adventure, provides a cinematic demonstration of the Subaru Forester’s all-terrain capabilities.

6. Subaru Forester, Doo Do Doo 

Advertising Agency: Disciple, Sydney, Australia

Directed by filmmaker Tim Bullock, Subaru’s ‘Doo Do Doo’ commercial, features an amusing scenario about three dogs and their persuasive exhortations inspired by Lou Reed’s iconic “Walk On The Wild Side”.

7. Hyundai Genesis, Driver Versus Dog

Advertising Agency: Jung von Matt/Neckar, Stuttgart, Germany

Directed by filmmaker Wayne McClammy, the ‘dog-star’ of this Hyundai Genesis commercial is an aggressive, little spoilt pooch, that for the limo-service chauffeur of his celebrity mistress, is not a welcome passenger.

The tussle between the driver and the wannabe alpha-male pooch, makes for entertaining viewing with a very amusing ending.

8. Suzuki Kizashi, Sled

Advertising Agency: Siltanen & Partners, Los Angeles, USA

Impressively directed by filmmaker Jim Zoolalian, the classic Super Bowl ‘Suzuki Kizashi Sled’ commercial features a great soundtrack by American Rapper, 50 Cent.

Filmed in Canada on Alberta’s frozen Spray Lake, the panoramic, arctic landscapes, provide a cinematic backdrop to an entertaining story with an endearing cast of a convivial sled-dog musher and his rap-loving canine companions, in an amusing scenario twist.