Dogs Rule



New Marketing Campaign Rolled Out for Downtown Bend

Bend’s downtown business promoters have found a new breed of talent to star in a series of television ads that they hope will attract more locals downtown – and all the actors want in return is someone to play ball with, or someone to give them a treat.

The ads are the creation of the Downtown Bend Business Association, which worked with local advertising agency tbd and a local filmmaker to create a series of 30-second spots.

The ads feature dogs downtown with music in the background, but unlike other dog commercials, you can actually hear their thoughts.

“That’s the punch line of the commercial,” said Chuck Arnold, executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association. “The dog says, ‘will you go to the park with me? Will you throw me the ball? You smell like scones. Wait, is it me?”

During the last eight seconds of the ad, a downtown business promotes its message. Companies including Ranch Records, Mockingbird Gallery and Kitchen Complements have signed up to be part of the campaign, Arnold said.

By promoting downtown Bend’s offbeat nature, Arnold hopes to attract locals looking for something different, he said.

“We wanted these ad spots to be reflective of our culture,” Arnold said. “We are celebrating that spirit that downtown is part of your life. That’s the message.”

Casting dogs as actors tapped into some recent notoriety gained by Bend, which was named “Dog Town USA” in a September issue of Dog Fancy magazine.

Using dogs also saved on production costs, said Angela Reid, associate creative director at tbd, which has been located downtown since 1999. The project was budgeted at $6,000, included some pro-bono work by tbd and Wild Lookout, which shot the commercials.

And, of course the dogs, that worked for a nice pat, a friendly game of ball or a treat.

The dogs used in the spot were a mix of gigantic terriers, an energetic Springer spaniel with sad eyes and a Jack Russell Terrier, she said. It was an offbeat bunch, not the typical dogs you would see in a commercial, Reid said.

“We wanted to reflect the personality of Downtown Bend, which is a little quirky,” she said. “All those businesses have their own individual personality. The collective is the inexplicable thing. There is always something unexpected going on.”

The ads, which started airing on local television networks March 18, will run through the middle of June, and again in the fall, Arnold said.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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