It Is Alive!

June 21, 2007 | blog | By Mike Sullivan

We now understand how Dr. Frankenstein felt.

About eight months ago, we had an idea for a television commercial for our Stanley Steemer client featuring a dog who rubbed his butt on the carpet. The spot was edgier than anything we’d ever done to sell carpet cleaning, but hey, it was funny. It was real life. Tell me your dog hasn’t done that before!

We were confident it would generate word of mouth and hopefully, the kind of exposure that would translate into sales. That was, after all, the point of creating the spot in the first place.

[Click play to view Stanley Steemer’s “Toby’s New Trick” :30 spot.]


With cautious optimism, we presented the spot, along with 10 others to our client, the CEO of Stanley Steemer. From the jump, he laughed in all the right places. He liked that the spot came from some place real. And most of all, he had the courage to pull the trigger on a spot he suspected not everyone would like.

And so, in February, we went into production with a script, three outstanding actors, Bob and Bill Ebel – our super-talented director/editor team in Chicago and a golden retriever from California who learned to scoot across the carpet, on cue, in just under three weeks. We put all the pieces in place, and like Victor Frankenstein himself, we gave this spot some juice and brought it to life.

On our first look, we thought it was funny. A dozen tweaks later, we thought it was funny. When we got back to Dallas after three weeks shooting and editing, showing it to 50 people at the agency and flying to Florida to present it to the client, we thought it was funny.

We still do. And apparently, so do a lot of other people.

Like Frankenstein’s monster, our little spot about the “scootin’ dog” has taken on a life of its own. At the time of this writing, it’s been posted five times on YouTube – not by us – has views north of 150,000 and more than 100 effusively positive comments. It’s been written up in SHOOT magazine as “The Best Work You May Never See”, parodied on YouTube by an online animator and as of today, will be part of the “World’s Funniest Commercials” show airing Saturday, August 18 on the TBS SuperStation. Our specialty vendors have even called to tell us people are inundating them with requests for wind up dog toys that do the “Toby trick!”

Last week, a number of us from the agency attended a Dallas Ad League lunch about the convergence of traditional and digital media. The speakers all talked about organic growth and that people would respond to what they liked. They talked about the vision agencies need to see how their traditional executions can work in the digital universe. How digital media is quickly becoming the starting blocks, not the end of the swim.

This week, we saw that convergence happen right before our eyes. It’s scary how fast it happened. It’s fantastic how fast it happened. We ran a spot on TV. Just like we have 100 times before. But accidentally on purpose, we hit a big, honking, funny bone in people all over America. They laughed. They engaged. They logged on. But most importantly, they connected with Stanley Steemer in a memorable, positive way.

Funny, that’s just what we hoped would happen.


Mike Sullivan

President at LOOMIS, the country’s leading challenger brand advertising agency


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