Nestlé launches TV ad aimed at dogs. Will it work?

Nestlé has launched a Austrian pet food commercial that contains high-frequency sounds designed to catch the attention of dogs.

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    Nestlé Purina's Austrian ad for its dog food, Beneful, contains high-pitched noises designed to appeal to dogs.
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Austrian dogs have something to watch – and listen to – on TV this week.

The global food conglomerate Nestlé has launched a pet food commercial that contains high-frequency sounds aimed at canine ears. The 23-second ad for the dog food brand Beneful emits audible squeaks and pings, along with a high-pitched whine that humans can just barely hear.

"We wanted to create a TV commercial that our four-legged friends can enjoy and listen to, but also allow the owner and dog to experience it together," said Nestlé Purina's Anna Rabanus in a press release.

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The ad comes after a similarly themed effort to appeal to dogs' olfactory sense. In Germany, the company placed on advertising kiosks posters that released the scent of Beneful dog food, in the hopes that dogs would lead their owners to the posters.

It's unclear whether appealing directly to nonhumans will pay off for Nestlé. On the one hand, according to traditional free-market economic theories, manufacturers direct their solicitations to rational agents who trade their currency for goods and services. Dogs, while they may very well be rational, lack purchasing power and can make consumer choices only by proxy, presumably by pestering their owners.

On the other hand, the same is true for children, and manufacturers have little difficulty marketing their products to them.

But will dogs like the commercial? If you're a dog owner, bring your pet over to your computer for a look at the video below.

If your dog responds with a wagging of the tail or a perking of the ears, you can safely conclude that a) your dog wants a big bowl of Beneful brand dog food right now, b) your dog appreciates The Christian Science Monitor's thoughtful coverage of global events, and c) your dog is fluent in German.

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