Andrex Ditches Live Puppies In Shift To Digital FX

One of the hardest things any brand has to do is change its above-the-line creative work to stay in tune with the times. But it’;s unlikely that any brand has ever been as brutal as Kimberly Clark toilet roll brand Andrex, which has just swapped real Labrador pups for digital. Not even PG Tips’; decision to ditch the chimps was as shocking as this.

Andrex has been using live puppies since 1972. But its latest ad, created by Andrex in conjunction with JWT London and Framestore, does away with the real world Marley and Me-style relationship between families and dogs, replacing it with a Nintendo-esque world of digital dogs with human characteristics.

In the new ad, we see a digitised dog sprucing up his house as he awaits the return of his loved one from a foreign trip. He’;s still incapable of going near a toilet roll without making a mess, but he has learned to use a laptop. And he inhabits a canine world with other breeds of digidogs, ranging from teenage dalmations to taxi-driving bulldogs.

In a bid to head of accusations of puppycide, Kimberly Clark Europe marketing director Jon White said: “The Puppy’;s had a huge and loyal following since the first ad hit our screens in 1972. We really believe we’;ve given him a new lease of life and have evolved his character. We’;re confident his new Puppy World will remind you about why you fell in love with him in the first place.”

He’;d better be right about that. The makeover cost a reported £15m and has had a mixed reaction. While it clearly has a younger audience in mind, it may have misjudged the power of placing characters in the real world, particularly dogs which man’;s (and woman’;s) best friend.

Interesting footnote: In November, Andrex held an audition for new pups at Pineapple Studios, Clearly that was a thinly-disguised PR stunt, since the lead time to make a digital commercial would mean a decision on the digi-dog had already been taken. How heartless can a brand get?!

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