For decades, our four-legged friends have been spotted in ad campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the world. More often than not, however, it’s the dogs that consumers remember most afterwards. From Gidget, the itty-bitty Chihuahua who had us all saying “Yo Quiero Taco Bell!” in the 1990s to Bullseye, the Bull Terrier nearly everyone associates with shopping superchain Target, we’re throwing a few of advertising’s greatest real-life dogs a bone with their own tribute.
Duke | BUSH’S Beans
As the official spokesdog for BUSH’S Beans and BFF to the great-grandson of founder A.J. Bush, Jay Bush, Duke is a golden retriever who was born to sell the secret family recipe to BUSH’S Baked Beans.
How does a dog sell a secret recipe for beans that taste this good, anyway? The original TV spots were created by ad agency Cole Henderson Drake and featured Jay with Duke. Jay reveals that he gave Duke the secret recipe to BUSH’S Baked Beans. The secret should be safe with a dog, after all. He’s man’s best friend and it helps that he can’t talk either. Suddenly, Duke turns to Jay to speak — only to say, “roll that beautiful bean footage.” The secret recipe is safe and has been for decades, thanks to Duke.
Gidget | Taco Bell
Taco Bell’s greatest legacy might just be the catchphrase “Yo Quiero Taco Bell!” and the pint-sized, feisty Chihuahua who barked it in ‘90s TV spots for the fast food giant.
This pup is also known as Gidget, who was originally cast to play the girlfriend to the Taco Bell Chihuahua. Gidget won the heart of the director and became the top dog for the campaign. She passed away in 2009, but her trainer Sue Chipperton noted that Gidget was a natural on camera and acted like “a real pro” when she was on set.
Spuds MacKenzie | Bud Light
When ad agency Needham, Harper & Steers created Spuds MacKenzie, they described him as being “a super party animal” — the perfect spokespup for a beer brand!
The commercial campaign for Bud Light debuted during the Super Bowl XXI in 1987 and Spuds was an instant hit with audiences. Who better to invite to the cookout than this face, who would be happy to play some music while there and oh yeah, bring along a cooler full of beer bottles? Spuds might have retired in 1989, but the ghost of the brand mascot returned to the Super Bowl in 2017. The “Ghost Spuds” campaign from Wieden & Kennedy New York championed great friendships — the kinds made over cans of ice-cold Bud Light.
Lady Greyhound | Greyhound
Greyhound Lines might have had a running greyhound as its company logo since the 1920s, but they would get the real pup in 1957. Grey Advertising, then the ad agency for Greyhound Lines, decided to debut a brand mascot — an actual greyhound, at that — who could help the bus company stand out from the car competition. Her name was Lady Greyhound and she made her first appearance on NBC’s Steve Allen Show.
For the next decade, Lady Greyhound acted as a goodwill ambassador on behalf of the brand. Ever a stylish and regal presence, Lady Greyhound was photographed wearing a diamond-studded collar and tiara and enjoyed the good life with her own personal handler. She was, of course, still quite down-to-earth when it came to her fans and didn’t mind signing “pawtographs” for them.
Bullseye | Target
Anyone who has ever stepped into a Target knows all about the company’s spunky Bull Terrier, Bullseye. Originally debuting in 1999, Bullseye was an instant hit with viewers. His later commercials featured all the essentials that shoppers could pick up at Target — and really, only ever find from Target and Bullseye. He continues to be the face of the brand today, starring in holiday ad campaigns. Several Target storefront locations even feature a Bullseye Bench for kids to snap selfies and share, tagging #TargetDog on their social media platforms.
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