Whether it’s a car or a mobile phone, puppy chow or retail store, it doesn’t take a dog lover to know what’s going to help draw attention to your advertisement. Canines and commercials go together like chocolate and peanut butter, and the sweet result makes for a snack-sized video that brightens your day, whether it motivates you to buy the merchandise or not.
2014 was rife with pooch-enhanced product placement. Here’s our Top 10 Countdown of the best barking commercials this year had to offer (plus a couple of our guilty pleasures).
Runner-Up: The Mind-Boggling Awe of Otusan
Even with subtitles, we still don’t know what’s going on with this madcap Hokkaido and the adventures he has as mascot for SoftBank.
This compilation starts prior to 2014 but chronicles life with his human family up through this year, featuring journeys into space, fights and team-ups with an alien Tommy Lee Jones, giant squids, and more. This dog may have more commercial airtime than the Energizer bunny, and it’s oddly addictive.
Now, on to the real countdown:
10. Never Give Up
This entry may have scored higher if the first half didn’t make us so sad. We’ve seen too many real “LOST” signs in our day, but thankfully the (spoiler alert!) happy ending with Sam and his tenacious friend makes it all worth it.
9. Target in Wonderland
Move over white rabbit! We’d much rather be ushered into this toy and candy wonder-world by a white bull terrier with red highlights.
What really takes this ad into Top 10 territory? When little Alice is traipsing through the peppermint forest, company mascot Bullseye just looks adorable waddling in four little winter boots.
8. Because We’ve All Been There
When the owner is away, the dogs will play! This advertisement for dog training literally hits close to home, and the results are hilarious…at least when the home isn’t ours.
7. With Great Dog Comes Great Responsibility
Budweiser provides an endearing reason why it’s important to drink responsibly. Again, we feared this would turn into a dark and sad Public Service Announcement, but thankfully it finishes well. Another option for responsible pet parents: find your four-legged friend a dog sitter on the chance you’ll be out all night. Hey, somebody needs to be fed, and walked, and let outside to do their business!
6. A Dog’s Eye View
Who’s the smart one? This insightful beagle knows how to come alongside his human and make him look good, even when the man is about to screw up his date.
The colorful commentary on human behavior should make us paws and consider.
Interlude: The Cat Video That’s Worth Watching
For reasons that are obvious, this entry couldn’t make the list for best commercials featuring dogs. Still, you’ve got to give the cat in question points for trying!
5. A Really Plane Pooch
This Amsterdam Airport provides one of the most astounding commercials of all, and dog lovers will be tempted to leave something behind just on the offhand chance they’ll meet Sherlock, the Lost and Found Service Dog.
Alas, it turns out this hard-working beagle is not a permanent part of the staff, but just a PR campaign.
4. Meet the Barkleys
Subaru may have officially changed the term “cash cow” to “cash canine” with the ingenious series of commercials featuring the Barkley family of dogs.
Whether they’re barking at the mailman or stopping at the gas station for a drink, the series compiled here features a smile for everyone.
3. Dog and Pony Show
Back with their classic Clydesdale horses, Budweiser dares to demonstrate that sometimes the most loving bond may not be between a dog and a human.
2. Canine Commentary: Cat to Kitten
While the narrator is a derisive feline, the subject is a fluffy Saint Bernard. While it might not be the most flattering description of our pooch pals, you have to admit that, in a way, he’s right.
1. Love of a Lifetime
Call us sappy and sentimental, but this one has it all: Not only does it offer movie-worthy cinematography, it bridges the funny and tearful.
This one wins year’s best by peeling back the years in vignettes, reminding us how a canine companion walks beside us through seasons of growing up, moving out, dating, driving, and more…all the while offering unconditional love.
Last But Not Least: We’re biased!
Of course, it wouldn’t have been fair to put our own commercials into the competition, but we have to admit we think our dogs and dog sitters are something special, so here’s our latest commercial about Rover.com as a bonus.
Got a favorite this year we didn’t highlight? Let us know!