Nestlé Purina recruits ‘talking’ dog for television commercial in the United States

Dec 2, 2011

A ‘talking’ dog that has become a worldwide Internet sensation is the star of Nestlé Purina’s latest television commercial in the United States.

Mishka, a Siberian husky, barks what sounds like the phrase “I love you” in the new commercial for the Purina Veterinary Diets FortiFlora nutritional supplement.

Click here to watch the TV commercial

The eight-year-old dog already has a huge fan base in the United States alone, thanks to her apparent ability to bark a range of expressions in English.

One YouTube video of Mishka ‘speaking’ has been viewed more than 60 million times. In total, her videos on YouTube have been viewed more than 200 million times.

The canine celebrity has also appeared on a variety of primetime television shows in the United States, including one where she ‘sings’ for the American singer and actress Bette Midler.

Shown during Thanksgiving

Part of the joy of owning pets is watching the funny things they do. Sue Haddrill, Director of Veterinary Marketing for Nestlé Purina PetCare in the United States

The 30-second television commercial for FortiFlora was first shown in the United States during the country’s Thanksgiving celebrations this year.

A probiotic powder that is sprinkled onto a pet’s food, FortiFlora is designed to help veterinarians manage dogs and cats diagnosed with gastrointestinal upset. 

The commercial aimed to make more consumers aware that many pets suffer from such digestive problems, particularly during the festive season.

Pets get stressed too

“People get stressed at this time of year, but so too do their pets,” said Sue Haddrill, Director of Veterinary Marketing for Nestlé Purina PetCare in the United States.

“Nearly 40% of pets had some kind of gastrointestinal upset over the past year, whether it was a case of diarrhoea, vomiting or poor appetite.

“One of the main causes is a change in the pet’s environment, perhaps because guests are coming over to their house, or because decorations have been put up, or because they are travelling to someone else’s home,” she added.

Click here for more pictures of Mishka on Flickr

Mishka on the set of the Fortiflora TV commercial RISING STAR: Mishka already has a huge fan base in the United States.

In the commercial, Mishka leads a cast of dogs who are all feeling unwell. Their whimpers and subdued barks signal their unhappiness.

The storyline suggests that the dogs feel better with the Fortiflora supplement.

Mishka says “thank you” on their behalf by barking “I love you” to her owner.

Connecting with consumers and their pets

The commercial is one of several inventive ways Nestlé Purina has used its expert understanding of how people relate to their pets to connect with consumers.

A European TV commercial used high-pitched sounds designed to capture dogs’ attention. There was also a series of iPad games for cats.

“Part of the joy of owning pets is watching the funny things they do,” Ms Haddrill continued.

“People love it when their animals behave, or react to something, in a unique way.  They also love to share these endearing moments with family and friends.”

Purina Veterinary Diets

Fortiflora is part of the Purina Veterinary Diets range of products.

These are specially formulated nutritional aids for managing the diet of dogs and cats with certain health problems.

Each product provides a proper balance of total nutrients while meeting special dietary needs.

They are available exclusively from veterinarians in Europe, Canada and the United States.

Related information:
Watch Mishka in the Fortiflora television commercial on YouTube
Images of Mishka on Flickr
Nestlé Purina website
Purina Veterinary Diets

Related stories:
Nestlé Purina launches TV commercial to capture dogs’ attention
Fun-loving felines play Friskies’ iPad Games for Cats
Nestlé’s new ice cream snacks for dogs set tails wagging