I caught this television commercial during the Wimbeldon highlights two nights ago and couldn’t get it out of my mind. The message, the music and certainly the dog, made quite an impact. No surprise that it comes from the creative and respected Minneapolis ad agency Fallon, but I was surprised (and pleased) to learn that its’ furry star, Chopper, was a rescue dog turned canine celeb.
In this latest spot from Travelers, directed by Danny Kleinman and featuring music by Ray LaMontagne, we follow along as a worried dog searches for and ultimately finds the safest place to put his most prized-possession. It’s one of those spots where the music, the direction and certainly, the casting, all combine for an effective and entertaining result. From The Hartford Courant: The expressive Chopper, who was rescued from a shelter and professionally trained, stars in a one-minute drama of high anxiety about his bone. He goes to great and amusing lengths to protect that bone, just as Travelers wants to be seen as working hard to keep its customers safe with its insurance. The commercial was developed by Fallon, a Minnesota-based advertising firm, and was a hit when previewed at Travelers’ June 4 Investor Day conference. Analyst Larry Greenberg, co-manager of Langen McAlenney in Hartford, who attended the event, wrote a note to investors about it headlined, “The Dog Steals the Show, But Management a Close Second.” Rather than advertise specific products, the commercial is part of Travelers’ corporate branding campaign that started last year and highlights the famous red umbrella logo, said company spokeswoman Jennifer Wislocki. “The message of this ad,” she said, “is a reminder that Travelers protects the things you care about.” As Chopper seeks to hide his bone from other dogs, the Ray LaMontagne song “Trouble” provides the soundtrack with apt lyrics such as “”Trouble has been doggin’ my soul since the day I was born.”
The mutt tries concealing his bone in a laundry basket, his owner’s chair and a hole he digs in the yard. Still worried, he rides a bus to place the bone in a bank safety deposit box. After tossing and turning in his sleep, Chopper retrieves the bone and takes it home. The camera pans to the bone in his food bowl with the iconic Travelers red umbrella over it. The voice-over says, “When it comes to things you care about, leave nothing to chance. Travelers: insurance for auto, home and business.” Travelers CEO Jay Fishman gushed over the mutt at the investor conference: “That dog is smarter than a lot of people I know. … You could be friends with that dog. It’s great. Don’t want to get carried away here. But it was neat.” You can see their latest tv spots here.
Ad agency: Fallon