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Honda Steals Subaru’s Shtick with Emotional Dog Commercial of Its Own

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2017 Honda Ridgeline commercial "Lost and Found"

Subaru has a signature advertising strategy, and it involves putting really cute dogs in all of its commercials. In the past, the brand has given us a series of videos about a family of driving dogs, a folksy Outback ad about a woman dreaming of riding the rails with her dog, and perhaps the automaker’s masterpiece, a real tearjerker of an Impreza ad in which a man helps his dying dog check off every item on its “bucket list.”

So one can imagine that the folks over at Subaru are probably pretty furious right now to see Honda cutting in on their territory with a brand new emotional dog commercial of its own.

Take a look (though if you’re the kind of person who cries whenever he watches the Futurama episode “Jurassic Bark,” you may want to grab some tissues first):

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The nearly two-minute video, titled “Lost and Found,” focuses on a 2017 Honda Ridgeline owner who comes across a stray dog while driving his pickup truck. The man rescues the animal, slowly gains his trust, and builds him a doghouse.

After all of that bonding, though, the man sees a flyer for a lost dog named Patch, and realizes his new best friend belongs to someone else. He returns Patch to his original family, and then drives away…

The message, of course, is: GET TAGS AND A COLLAR FOR YOUR DOG, PEOPLE! But what makes the commercial so resonant is the way it plays on the powerful bonds between people and their pets—something that Subaru has been exploiting in its ads for quite a while.

Even if this commercial is a bit derivative, though, it’s nice to see some Subaru-style pathos injected into the typically macho world of truck commercials, which usually feature electric guitars and Denis Leary or Howie Long droning on about how you need a truck that “works as hard as you do.” Kudos to Honda for doing something that’s unusual for its segment, if not especially unique to car commercials in general.

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