Watch: The First-Ever Commercial Aimed Directly at Dogs

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Blake Little / Getty

The advertising world is going to the dogs.

First, there was Meow Mix. A constant trill of meows, voiced at the pitch of a half-senile grandmother, designed to convince the malleable TV viewer that Meow Mix was four-star cuisine for felines. Then came the Beggin’ Strips commercials.  A hungry, odor-obsessed golden retriever followed the scent of artificial bacon through his house, all the while chanting, “Iiiit’s bacon!”

And on Friday, Nestle, one of the world’s largest pet food manufacturers, officially cut out the middle man and did what  no other pet food brand dared do before — market straight to the canines.

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Nestle’s Beneful dog food’s new commercial uses a high frequency tone to catch TV-watching dogs’ attention, followed by an audible “squeak” like the sound dogs’ toys make and a high-pitched “ping.”

The higher-pitched tones are designed to hit above most adult humans’ auditory thresholds, so that dogs receive the bulk of the sensory advertising.

“Dogs’ hearing is twice as sharp as humans. They can pick up frequencies which are beyond our range and they are better at differentiating sounds,” said Georg Sanders, a nutrition expert at Nestle Purina PetCare in Germany.

Nestle said in a statement the commercial, to be aired in Austria this week, follows an award-winning campaign in Germany that featured “sniffable” posters to attract dogs. And it might be a great niche to fill, since recent studies showed that, in spite of the economy, pet owners are spending more on their cuddly companions.

It might take awhile to study whether the commercial’s effectiveness on the target consumer — imagine the plausibility of conducting a focus group for dogs — but a pup’s visible reaction to the 23-second spot may be enough to drive owners to the pet store.

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