SPCA: Strategically Placed Commercial Advertising

Campbell Live ran a fluff piece on Monday night about a dog being able to drive a car under the guise of the SPCA pimping unwanted dogs as pets.

Over the last week, big budget advertising and PR company Draft FCB have been begging bloggers and media to talk up their “SPCA” campaign and tune in to watch the dogs on Campbell Live. The reality is it wasn’t an SPCA campaign at all.

When asked by Campbell Live’s Lachlan Forsyth as to how much the campaign had cost them, Christine Kalin, SPCA Auckland’s CEO responded with “it cost us 15 dog collars”.

That would be because the campaign was actually a publicity stunt by BMW brand, Mini.

The campaign uses the incredible goodwill of the global organisation, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, to simply try and sell you a car.

The embarrassing live display on Campbell Live resulted in humans having to push the Mini after the dog failed to perform and drove it off the road.  Apparently the dog had been performing its trick fine prior to the live broadcast so I guess we must assume it was a fault with the Mini.

With the campaign receiving global attention, one can only imagine that some idiot will attempt to replicate it, put their dog at the steering wheel of their own unmodified car and cause some serious damage and injury. Ironically, the SPCA may end up dealing with the fallout.

Any takers on how long before we see some copycat videos on YouTube?


The 3 News website is now full of Mini advertising.

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • noname

    I don’t think you can say that it was a failure and so what if BMW were the real advertisers… Certainly I noticed “oh a mini great advert” but the story was more about the dogs which was Campbell live’s responsibility. I think with every TV bug known to man placed on the screen (as we all know this video will go global” I think the story was missed that way. But if this is the way that things have to go in order to keep programming alive then so be it. I think the real winners were the SPCA regardless… even though the message was slightly lost

    • The whole point of what the SPCA told us was “you can teach an old dog new tricks” and then proceeded to demonstrate that on live TV. The dog had to prove their point and it didn’t. It failed to perform as it had been trained. Jumping out of an airplane and not pulling the rip cord does not make you a successful parachutist.

      How does it help the SPCA when the dogs they’re trying to get people to give homes to are now proven to be duds? It certainly didn’t matter to Mini. As long as their brand got put in front thousands of people, whether the dogs performed on cue or not was irrelevant.

      Things most certainly don’t need to go this way in order to keep programming alive. But if you want to defend brands that slyly advertise by leveraging the goodwill of charitable organisations with global esteem for their own commercial gains then go ahead.

      • Deluded

        Like the “Kimberly Crossman brand” (and PR monster) getting pointless exposure on tv, in books, online, in newspapers…?

        • Last time I checked, Kimberley was marketing herself as herself. There’s a substantial difference between that and using a charity for commercial gain.

  • MarkoPoloT

    I was wondering what kind of butt-ugly ride it was.. BMW aren’t helping themselves by continuing to design cars that look like crap – it looks like they’ll need all the publicity they can get with such sloppy, compromised designs still trying to hitch a ride on the cool cache of the original mini.. although middle-aged women are likely to flock to it – and plaster the back windows with those white stick figure families letting everybody know how many grandchildren and cats they have…

  • Reece

    Wow, luckily I didnt take much notice of this dog driving story so i saved myself from watching this now exposed commercial opportunity then. Thank you throng for justifying my lack of interest about driving dogs as it did seem an odd story for a current affairs show but you have to please the advertisers.

  • Trev

    Is this likely since Campbell Live is sponsored by Mazda?

    • It is if you plead ignorance to the fact that it was a Mini campaign…

  • Harrison

    I was watching an American show on Triangle TV and they said the dogs were Australian, and mentioned the ABC!