When there’s no getting over that rainbow, a dog will still love you…

Brendan Seery

I was reading something the other day about being bullied in the workplace. It happened to me over a period of years and I had no option – because my family was young and we needed the money – but to stick it out. But it ate into my soul and left me feeling demeaned and worthless at times.

It goes without saying I would not have made it had it not been for the support of my wife, who has had to put up with a lot from me over the years.

However, what always, without fail, helped me to look beyond the gloom and depression was the welcome I got from our dogs when I arrived home. As I would sit, sometimes in the driveway, with my arms around Lucky – the big shaggy St Bernard look-alike we rescued from being dragged around Yeoville with a wire noose around his neck – I would think. This dog thinks I am fantastic. I am this dog’s hero. I make this dog “smile”.

It has always been this way with pets, but particularly dogs (cats, we all know, are from another planet). They love you unconditionally and they don’t embarrass you.

That’s the idea behind the latest TV ad for the SPCA – that you can choose your animal companions (from them)…but you can’t choose your family.

We see a young woman talking about Fluffy, the new dog in her life, and how wonderful he is.

As she talks, though, a relative (a brother, maybe?) strolls by in an impossibly small thong. That’s because he’s a narcissistic body builder. And, you cannot help but be drawn to him as he preens and prances in the background, pouring oil over himself to emphasise the definition.

It’s funny but it makes the point that you can choose an animal from the SPCA which won’t make you want to dig a hole and bury yourself as your relatives sometimes do.

So, the ad gets an Orchid from me for being great marketing and capturing a nice, basic human truth, which is what good advertising should do.

I look forward to seeing more work from the production agency, Patriot, which was formed recently by Anton Visser and Zayd Halim, who learned their trade at the iconic production house Velocity.

SPCA – Fluffy from Patriot on Vimeo.

There is nothing worse than seeing an ad for a high-quality product let down by low quality content or production value – and the sloppy use of language (one of my pet bugbears) in ads often does that to premium brands.

One such this week was for iconic Italian car brand Maserati, the epitome of high-tech and high excitement. In a print ad, the copy referred to “accelleration”. Two Ls in acceleration? Come on – that’s a basic error, especially from a car maker where acceleration is one of its key selling points. Sloppy from the copy writers and sloppy from the ad agency people who checked it. But, goodness me, surely someone from Maserati – former World Formula One champions – would have seen it was wrong?

An Onion for you, Maserati. And another one, for good measure, for including the power of your engines in horsepower. We use the metric system in this country – as do you. So what were you thinking?

  • My Orchids and Onions column now appears every Saturday in The Citizen. Drop me a line – brendans@citizen.co.za

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