A new political ad in support of Joe Biden for president tries to resonate across the lines via a beloved human interest: dogs.
A group that bills itself as “Dog Lovers for Joe” has debuted a new spot that looks back on presidents of the past, side by side with their furry friends: Ronald Reagan with Lucky, a Bouvier des Flandres; George H.W. Bush and Millie, an English Springer Spaniel; Bill Clinton with his chocolate lab Buddy; George W. Bush and his Scottish Terrier Barney and Barack Obama with Portuguese Water Dog Bo.
But when it gets to President Donald Trump, we see a scene of him addressing a crowd, pejoratively shaking his head. “How would I look walking a dog across the White House lawn?” he mocks.
The ad then states, “Trump is the first President without a dog in the White House in over a century," before cutting to a scene of his rival Biden, nuzzling one of his German Shepherds, Champ.
“Choose your humans wisely,” the spot then reads, along with the Biden Harris logo.
The spot was tweeted out today by Rob Schwartz, CEO of TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, who also happened to be behind the idea.
He created it as “Rob Schwartz, concerned American citizen, not Rob Schwartz, CEO of TBWA New York,” he says. (And not as leader at an agency whose walls announce in massive type, “be more human (and if in doubt) be more dog.”)
Schwartz explains that the idea came to him after he was introduced to some of the Biden team by Matt Scheckner, CEO of Stillwell Partners and global CEO of Advertising Week. Though Scwhartz says the conversations didn’t go anywhere, they kickstarted some ideas to help support the former VP.
“I was seeing all the wonderful photographs of Joe Biden and dogs on the internet and thought it was interesting,” he says. He looked into whether there was any science behind dogs and leadership and found articles supporting the idea that “dogs basically bring out the best in people.” Upon further digging, he also discovered that dogs were a unifying factor across the lines, with red states and swing states showing high dog ownership.
Also, judging from current market trends showing how much dogs are in-demand, the strategy might be sound.
In developing the idea, Schwartz had bounced it off some other creative friends—his former colleague Patrick O’Neill, who previously served as CCO at TBWA\Chiat\Day L.A., former Ogilvy Copy Chief and ECD George Tannenbaum and editor Dan Bootzin, who had cut Apple’s iconic “Think Different” ad.
Tannenbaum ended up sending him a clip of Trump mocking dog owners, he and O’Neill started brainstorming and they realized how so many former U.S. presidents were dog lovers. “All of a sudden it just materialized,” Schwartz says. “We put it together and we liked what we saw.”
To help promote the ad and raise awareness, Schwartz quickly threw together a simple website, DogLoversforJoe.com.
If there's one thing that Americans can agree on right now, it just might be dogs, he believes. “What’s frustrating is the division in our country," Schwartz says. "The last time I checked were were the ‘United’ States of America."