Since Kim Kardashian’s contract ended last year, Sketchers had to do something to drum up interest in their upcoming Super Bowl spot. Her replacement is none other than a little French bulldog named Mr.Quiggly.
A recently released “sneak peak” of the company’s Super Bowl commercial shows Mr. Quiggly walking down the track as a late entry in a greyhound race. Clearly, the little bulldog and his canine friends aren’t as sexy a choice as Kardashian, but as far as controversy goes, they are trying their best to fill her shoes.
Earlier this month, Sketchers found themselves in hot water with the greyhound protection non-profit GREY2K USA after word leaked that their Super Bowl ad was filmed at Tucson Greyhound Park, which they have charged withmultiple cases of animal cruelty and neglect. GREY2k was baffled as to why the company would choose to promote the controversial sport and started a petition on Change.org that now has 115,052 signatures.
At the time, Business Insider reported that Gary Patrick, Sketchers SVP and Global Ad Director, assured GREY2K USA that his company was not promoting dog racing and were not even sure that those clips from the track would make it into the commercial’s final cut.
But as this sneak peak shows, not only is the greyhound footage being used, but also the light that they shine around the sport is anything but negative. In fact the voice over in the ad sounds like an announcer from the refined Westminster Dog Show than what you would expect from the racetrack.
Sketchers says that the campaign focuses on using humour to illustrate how the brand is coming into the athletic shoe world as an “underdog.” The commercial also features billionaire Mark Cuban, although the preview does not hint at what role he will play.
While Sketchers seems to have figured out how to create buzz around their Super Bowl spot, their challenge this year will be to get their money’s worth out of the ad by translating that publicity into sales.
Kardashian’s risqueé commercial in last year’s game, which promoted Sketchers Shape-Ups, created waves online, but that did not make up for the fact that people did not buy the product.
So while Mr. Quiggly and greyhounds may create great chatter in the lead up to game day, the question remains: can dogs really sell athletic shoes?