“What’s a Rhodesian Ridgeback?”

As we read about a particular ad campaign, we envisioned in our minds a conference room with Danish furniture in which a TV commercial concept was being pitched to the client, a team of mortgage bankers.  The agency was tasked to create a campaign that encouraged first time and repeat home buyers to finance their new home at a time when millennials were buying homes for their dog – not kids or a marriage. We pictured the agency project manager in the oversized suit with a touch of 1980s Armani saying, “We’ll cast a couple of dogs in the ad. They’ll be housemates who talk to each other and scheme how to improve their lives. The first ad in the series will show why the dogs think they need to move.”

After the brand manager fleshes out the concept, there is silence. One of the bankers finally asks: “What’s a Rhodesian Ridgeback?”

At least, that’s how we imagined it. A magnificent breed, the Ridgeback is one that many people have never seen in person, while most TV viewers probably know someone with a Pomeranian. And we’ll likely never know why a Ridgeback and a Pomeranian were paired together to portray “Lulu and Lobo” in the commercials for Wells Fargo, but the idea that BBDO advertising agency came up has since been cited as an example of an excellent bank ad that teaches a thing or two about marketing.

Many thought the commercials to be heartwarming, if not a bit cutesy, but they worked at getting the message across. Here was one of the first commercials:

In the commercial timeline, Lulu and Lobo had adjustments to make, and the following commercial explains why it came time to find a bigger place.

Pom owners may not have been pleased with how their breed was depicted in the WooWoo Monster ad, but there were other Lulu and Lobo commercials. Some viewers shared the opinion of the Commercial Curmudgeon who opined in 2019 that no other ad concept had been done to death more than pets who think and talk like humans.
Maybe so, but most of us are forgiving if the breeds are well portrayed, and the concept hasn’t already been done to death. What say you?

Image: Rhodesian Ridgeback by © Anastasiya Pozniak | Dreamstime

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *