Depressing Dog Commercials Drive Donations
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

Depressing Dog Commercials Drive Donations

We've all endured the heart-breaking ASPCA commercials, but are the tear-jerking ads really working?

918
Depressing Dog Commercials Drive Donations
Marie Gaumont

Is there any better way to unwind after a tiring day than by slouching in the couch, consumed only by the sights and sounds of the television screen?

Probably not.

The only things that can ruin that relaxing zombie-like watching experience are the commercials. Even worse are the commercials that beg for donations.

However, the most bothersome example of donation-pleading via TV has to be Sarah McLachlan’s American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) commercial, which has been on the air since 2007.

You know the one.

“In the arms of an angel,” Sarah McLachlan’s voice echoes through the loud speakers and images of abused, trembling dogs and cats flash across the screen. Then, McLachlan is shown, petting her own canine, to inform viewers about the millions of animals who are scared, lonely, and abandoned.

“Right now, there is an animal who needs you. Your call says – I’m here to help,” says McLachlan.

She urges viewers to call the number on their screen, and in doing so, donate to the ASPCA.

Most people have an overwhelming urge to flip the channel as soon as the commercial appears, due to its heart wrenching nature. McLachlan’s soft-velvet voice, coupled with the images of wide-eyed, sniffling, and bandaged puppies really can be too much (even McLachlan admits she can’t help but get emotional).

But apparently, this technique of pulling on heartstrings to pull open the clasps of the coin purse is effective.

The proof is in the numbers. According to the New York Times, in the first year after the McLachlan commercial aired, the ASPCA gained 200,000 more donors and raised $30 million.

But are those sad commercials worth the money of purchasing the air-time? Broadcasters can charge anywhere from $200-$1,500 for 30 second ads.

Well actually, the ASPCA, as a non-profit, usually doesn’t have to pay for television commercials. Television broadcasters donate the air-time (making their contribution to the charity) and run the ads during hard-to-fill time slots.

“Between radio, TV, and print, a large national charity might receive $10-20 million worth of donated advertising space in any given year,” explained John Doppler, an animal advocate from Santa Monica, California.

Therefore, the ASPCA just continues to profit from their tear-jerking ads. They replay the McLachlan commercial regularly.

Every year, as the holiday (giving) season arrives, viewers are subjected to a Christmas-version of the ad, in which McLachlan sings “Silent Night,” and sits with her dog in front of a Christmas-decorated fireplace. McLachlan then explains to viewers the urgency to donate, especially “during this holiday season.”

The ASPCA’s entire organization relies mostly on donations (as well as membership fees, grants, and sponsorships). In 2015, the ASPCA made over $190 million and 71 percent of that money came from contributions alone.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2017%2F02%2F17%2F636229540365117479-1492175220_aspca-pic.jpg%3Fw%3D493%26h%3D425&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=737&h=2e1d7a0249a764ba2a5e9bd8999a6fa1517e81c740e05f1775f80d11a4653e2d&size=980x&c=118769858 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2017%252F02%252F17%252F636229540365117479-1492175220_aspca-pic.jpg%253Fw%253D493%2526h%253D425%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D737%26h%3D2e1d7a0249a764ba2a5e9bd8999a6fa1517e81c740e05f1775f80d11a4653e2d%26size%3D980x%26c%3D118769858%22%7D" expand=1 original_size="1x1"]
Graph taken from the ASPCA’s 2015 Annual Report

To acquire those needed donations, the ASPCA continues to use the depressing-doggy technique.

Their website is covered in slideshows showcasing numerous malnourished, chained, and neglected dogs, and their donation page is splattered with pictures of pitiful pups (those tragic puppy-dog eyes will stare right into your soul as well as reach into your wallet).

The ASPCA also uses emotional rhetoric to lure potential donors by naming contributors “Guardians.”

Why is this ASPCA-method so effective?

The answer most likely has to do with the fact that people are so sentimentally attached to animals.

Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., believes we are so dependent upon animals because they provide us with emotional support.

“We know that animals have rich and deep emotional lives and some may be moral beings. Animals are needed for our own psychological well-being,” said Bekoff in Psychology Today.

Seeing an innocent animal, who has no self-defense or resilience, injured or abandoned by the humans it was depending on evokes a mother-hen instinct within a human being.

Must. Protect. Puppy.

Therefore, while some of us (as the audience) may sigh or change the channel as McLachlan's ASPCA ad flashes across our television screen, the numbers prove that those stirring images really do work effectively towards equipping the ASPCA with the money they need (via donations, memberships and sponsorships) to continue their efforts in helping animals and ceasing animal cruelty.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
https://unsplash.com/photos/XdbUsFkAwqA

If you're like me, by this time of year you're over summer. The beach, the sunshine, and the heat were all great, but now we're itching for blanket scarves, football, and pumpkin spice EVERYTHING! As the new season approaches, your relationship can benefit from some old traditional dates and some new fresh ideas! Here are a couple great date ideas for you and your boo to try out this fall.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

Social Media Or Soul Media

To the generation that cares way too much about affirmation.

1711
Emma Smith
  • This semester I am taking the ever so famous class, Writing 101. Walking into it, I had heard the horror stories about each major assignment. I have to admit, it’s not a class that I am fond of. But, major assignment #2 got me thinking, we had to create a research question based off of a topic that we are interested in.

Two weeks prior, I watched a very interesting documentary on Netflix. Miss Representation was recommended to me by one of my friends and I have to say the topic is absolutely mind blowing. Social Media and Female Body Image. How Social Media makes girls see this unnatural perfection of ‘beauty’ that really doesn’t exist. But female body image isn’t the only thing affected by social media.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Sex And The Church

A letter to fellow believers.

3426
Amanda Hayes
  • I know many of you just read that title and thought it was scandalous to see something so “risque” in the same setting as something holy. Well guess what – sex is part of that. Everyone seems to think they are separate, which makes since because most people treat them as though they are complete polar opposites. Shall we think this through?

Who created the Church body? God. Who created the body? Also God. If we know God to be the creator of all things, we cannot leave sex out of that equation. God created sex, people! Praise Him! Like all great things, the world has twisted and perverted it. The world has stained it so badly that even many church congregations see it only as stained and keep quiet about that part of God’s word. Many people know that God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), but a lot of people overlook the entirety of Song of Solomon. The entire book is dedicated to telling of the love and sex between man and wife. God blessed us with the gift of intimacy, one to be shared between husband and wife. Church if we teach of sex as the blessing that it is, more people will start treating it as such. If we stop viewing sex as this unspeakable act, the temptation would be lessened. With the fall of man, humans naturally desire things they should not have. So if more people speak of it with gladness and praise, and do not hide it in the darkness as if it were vile, fewer people would be drawn to it for the wrong reasons. More people would appreciate it for what it is: a gift from God.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tumblr

Chick-fil-A, I love you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

An open letter to my father

What you did sounds dumb to me

3623
An open letter to my father
The Truth About My Parents' Divorce

Considering im 18 now & you're one of the best men i've ever met since you have a child; me. I want you to know that I love you, more than anyone, I love you. I don't forgive you for the way you hurt my mother. I'm hurt because you broke our family. Thing went down hill the day you found Laquita. You we're distant & shortly after my mother turned into the coldest, saddest women to walk past me. She's my best friend & so are you. Not one day goes by where I don't wonder what she did wrong. How on earth could you trade your family & the women who loved you unconditionally for a home wrecker? Sounds dumb to me.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments