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Interpretations of Marketing Strategies: Botox for Dogs

February 11, 2009

This is a billboard that I walk past every day on my way to work:

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Cute, right?

I find this ad really difficult to wrap my head around, besides the fact that it’s a very intriguing form of marketing which captured my attention immediately. The most obvious question to ask is why is there a dog in this ad when the message is directed at people? (No doubt “botox for pets” will soon be all the rage, but as far as I know we thankfully haven’t reached that point just yet).

Using the image of an animal rather than a person could actually take away from the usual negative feelings that ensue when we see pictures of models and are told that we ought to look like them. With an animal, that pressure is eliminated. It’s not too often you see an ad for botox that depicts a furry creature rather than a woman, so right away that grabs attention. Because of that, this ad could potentially have less of an impact on self esteem than some other ad featuring a fresh-faced airbrushed supermodel. Animals are less intimidating.

We cannot deny that the dog in this ad is really cute. With the wrinkles. That just begs the question of why we’re trying to get a smooth complexion in the first place. Who wouldn’t want to be that cute? If anything I’m more turned off of the idea of botox than I was before. Aren’t dogs and babies all the more cute and appealing because they’re so wrinkly? You wouldn’t want to take away their wrinkles, so why are we supposed to get rid of ours as we age?

And that leads to the next observation that this particular dog looks like a puppy. If you’re young and thinking about botox, then I think you need to reduce some of the stress in your life or lighten up a little. On the other hand, the ad might be implying that young people need it too, like this botox ad which states: “Temporarily smooth moderate to severe frown lines for people 18 to 65 years of age”. Me being at the ripe old age of 20, I guess I’m well within the age range to qualify for some nice toxin injections!

Or maybe I’m interpreting this ad all wrong, and it’s demonstrating that we aren’t dogs, so we can’t get away with the wrinkles=cuteness association, and therefore we do need botox. Looks to me like the pets are getting the better deal here, either way.

Regardless, I can’t help but smile at the ridiculousness of this ad. What do you make of it?

29 comments

  1. My bullmastiff is up in arms and ready to protest!
    he loves his wrinkles πŸ™‚
    and alas, tho I dont love mine—-Im keeping em.

    The ad gets the point across huh? and with a smile? works for me. I wish no one used botox (hello hollywood!) save for medical reasons but thats JUST my opinion.


  2. Hmm, I seem to be seeing these subliminal age related messages everywhere. Maybe it’s because I’ll be 39 soon, and my subconscious is registering what my mind is rejecting. Did that even make sense?

    I had dinner with some girlfriends recently, and I was amazed to hear them discussing laser, dermabrasion and botox so casually. Maybe I’ll change my tune when i turn 40 πŸ™‚


  3. BEYOND silly ad.


  4. wow, so many different things hidden in this, i’ll focus on how cute the doggie is πŸ™‚


  5. Well, at least they are not using semi-naked women to push their product for a change!


  6. When I look at the ad, I just see a cute puppy. No associations with youth or any hidden meanings. It did strike a chord with me, because I have referred to myself post-weight loss as looking a bit like a shar pei. (Wrinkled, yes, but also cute, lovable, mischievous, and pricey.:))


  7. My dog didn’t appreciate this ad! πŸ™‚ I am not a fan of that garbage. Sorry but I think the photo shopped, airbrushed, botox, face lift faces that are all over the magazines, tv, movies and billboards are a false unhealthy view for everybody! My two cents anyway! πŸ™‚


  8. MizFit- I agree. It seems ridiculous and I just don’t get the point of it all. It’s not worth it.

    Dee- makes perfect sense but I hope that you don’t change your mind! You’re beautiful the way you are!

    VeggieGirl & ttfn300- when I first saw it I was really torn between being outraged and being amused… such a sneaky strategy.

    Dr. J- it’s so refreshing to have that change!

    Cammy- aw that’s so sweet! (I can’t help seeing hidden meanings in just about everything. It’s the rhetoric student in me)

    Mark- hear hear! I completely agree.


  9. Forget botox; my doggie needs hair dye– she’s turning grey! Oh no!


  10. Sweet puppy! Can’t help but think he looks sad, though, because he’s being told he’s not good enough the way he is and he should do something about those wrinkles.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist…it’s the body image writer in me. πŸ˜‰


  11. Oo! I saw an ad just like that. I thought it was kind of funny…


  12. The billboard is attention getting. My mom is starting to hit the 50+ age where she is thinking about micro-dermabrasion and lasers, etc and talking to me about them. Truthfully, I do not think my mom needs them. I think she has gotten more beautiful with age (either that I am starting to appreciate her more). I am hoping that it would be a phase that might pass.


  13. I love dogs ads. They always make me smile. Boston terriors are my favorite spokesdogs.


  14. Cute doggie.

    I think the reasoning behind botox is that dead people don’t get wrinkles.


  15. It is a bit perplexing, isn’t it? But it definitely gets your attention, so I guess that’s what matters to them.


  16. Well I’ll give the ad credit – it certainly made us THINK. I think we can all agree on one thing at least – that dog is freakishly cute. I want a puppy!


  17. Cute pup, especially with wrinkles ! Could you imagine him any other way? πŸ˜‰

    I like your perspective though. I think maybe It’s trying to bring the level of “danger” down per say, offering a more approachable surgery I suppose. If that is even possible! Either way, the dogs cute and I still don’t want needles in my face πŸ™‚


  18. Chocolatecoveredvegan- she’s turning into an old lady, is she? πŸ™‚

    Dara- oh I think you’re right! Poor pup.

    Maggie- its pretty silly!

    Asithi- hope she knows how beautiful she is- botox just ain’t worth it.

    James- they’re so darn cute, aren’t they?

    Tricia- as always, I adore your comments πŸ™‚

    FatFighterTV- yes, they’ve figured out a marketing strategy that really works.

    Monica- I second that! And I do enjoy a good ad that makes me think.

    Caroline- good insight! It really does make the whole process seem less scary when you’ve got a cute puppy on the billboard. That would also explain the cursive font…


  19. The dog is cute, albeit wrinkled, so people will take note of the billboard and ask themselves if they should get Botox. But I think this ad backfires, given that having wrinkles, just like being slightly balding (like myself), does not necessitate a makeover. Deal with it and enjoy who you are.

    peace,
    mike
    livelife365


  20. Very good point that the cute photos take away the negative feelings of the treatment. Wow. I’ve always thought “how cute”… but at the same time I’ve become more accepting of Botox. Interesting. Thanks for always keeping me aware πŸ™‚


  21. It also makes me smile. I love your analysis… I bet whoever makes it thinks they are very clever..!


  22. Hey, that’s not a dog, that’s the Bag Lady!!!!!

    Oh… wait, let me get my glasses on…..


  23. I love the cute little dog. I hate that its being used to advertise botox. I hate that botox exists and their are huge multimillion dollar advertising campaigns full of this kind of ad, as well as the more direct ones, that try to make us believe we aren’t supposed to age normally. That we are supposed to try to freeze our bodies in some kind of perfect state. Its pretty crazy when you think about it.


  24. Mike- I agree. We gotta love ourselves for being ourselves.

    Ashley- Botox ads are so sneaky like that.

    Juliet- most ads are fun to look at. Hehe.

    Bag Lady- ahaha. You’re silly. πŸ˜€

    Mary- I heart you. That was so well-said.


  25. I think the add is cute and clever, but what challenges me is that we live in a world where there are billboards for botox. I find that rather appauling.


  26. Have a wonderful weekend!


  27. Mr. Garand once told about botox rather than giving a math class. This amounted to a long description of botulism and it’s terrors.

    I would like to keep exceptionally dangerous neuro-paralytic microorganisms out of my face, thank you.


  28. My take on it was pretty much exactly the same as yours: cute dog=less threatening, but weird because wrinkles=good in that context.

    Everything said and done, I prefer this to a 25 year old model being used to target 50 somethings!


  29. like you said at the end – i smiled (ok, smirked) at the ad but realize it’s ridiculous.



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