Marketing with a bite: Using stray dogs to get your message across!

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For a couple of months, I worked for an outdoor advertising firm. The company employed close to 300 people, all of whom were tasked with selling and installing advertising in malls, airports, bus kiosks, and other high-traffic venues. The upshot of this is that I, like everyone else on the planet, still ignore public advertising, although I now check out the frames to see if they were installed by my company.

I'm not entirely sure that advertising works in any form, but I'm convinced that most of the current methods are completely bankrupt. Unless I'm specifically looking for something, I rarely notice billboards, newspaper ads, posters, direct-mail cards, and all the other tools that companies spend billions on in their search for my money. Unlike many people, I do watch commercials, but that is largely because I love the funny little movies. My favorite ad right now is the cat herder one that ran a few years back. I still can't remember the name of the company that it advertised.

Recently, I was impressed by the innovative advertising method that Radu Nicolau used. Currently running for mayor of a small town in Romania, Nicolau decided that, rather than pay for billboards or other expensive advertising methods, he would simply catch stray dogs, dress them in little posters that say "Vote for Radu Nicolau," and let them go. Sure, some people have complained about Nicolau's method, but I think that this is pure brilliance. Not only is it a memorable ad, but it also highlights a problem that the town's next mayor should probably address. After all, packs of stray dogs can't be a good thing.

The vacant lot next door has a lot of stray cats. I wonder if I can get the little darlings to hold still while I squeeze them into PETA t-shirts...

Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. He's already tried to get the stray cats to dress up in billboards advertising the local Chinese restaurant, but was subsequently accused of being a cat-tle rustler.
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