The first ever British advert created specially for dogs - featuring high-pitched sounds that cannot be heard by humans was broadcast last night.
The commercial, a minute-long send-up of The Italian Job, also features whistles and barks intended to catch the attention of even the most indolent of canines. Bakers, the dog food manufacturer which commissioned the advert, hope the sounds will provoke a reaction from dogs in living rooms across the country, fooling their owners into thinking they are interested in the products on the screen.
Carolyn Menteith, of the Kennel Club, said most dogs were most likely to react to the unfamiliar sound by pricking up their ears or tilting their head to pay attention, while some might wander up to the television set. A small number of particularly noise-sensitive dogs may be spooked by the sound and bark or hide under the sofa, but the distress would be no worse than hearing other unfamiliar sounds, she explained.
The marketing ploy is especially clever because dogs are largely uninterested in visual stimuli, so owners may notice their pets looking directly at the television screen for the very first time, she added. Bakers tested the advert, which features noises above 17,000 Hertz, on 12 dogs while the animals were distracted with a toy, and found that in each case they stopped playing and reacted to the sound in some way.