When you hear the brand name, WeatherTech, you don’t think car accessories. But that’s what it sells – car mats, floor mats, boot liners and so on. Weirdly, it also sells a range of pet accessories. And that’s where the dog, Scout, comes in. Scout is David MacNeil, WeatherTech chief executive officer’s, golden retriever. He’s seven years old and starred in Weathertech’s Super Bowl commercial last year.
A few months later, in July, Scout was diagnosed with a cancer. The tumour was in his heart. Scout wasn’t expected to survive. Ordinarily, a dog in this condition would be put down, but MacNeil took the dog to the School of Veterinary Medicine at University of Wisconsin-Madison. The vets there agreed to try a cutting edge cancer treatment.
Scout is alive. And so, this year’s Weathertech commercial is unlike any other in the Super Bowl line up. The commercial does not mention any of WeatherTech’s products. The WeatherTech name is visible only in a brief clip of last year’s commercial and the donate link at the end of the spot. The ad is a thank you to the veterinary school that saved Scout’s life. All money raised through the link will support the school’s medical research.
There’s an obvious goodwill benefit for a brand for which it is hard to feel any emotion. There is no doubt that the ad will trigger a lot of conversations. That’s another plus for a brand that wouldn’t ordinarily trigger much chat. According to the Washington Post, which interviewed Mark Markel, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine at UW-Madison, neither of these were MacNeil’s motives. “My original reaction was, ‘No way,’” Markel told the Washington Post, “I think just because of how happy [MacNeil] was with the care Scout received — all our folks are so talented and empathetic — I think he just wanted an opportunity, and was in this rare position, to give back.”
Here’s the full story of the commercial in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s blog.
The 30-second spot will run in the second quarter of the Super Bowl.