Solving the Zelda Mystery


Back in January, I posted on a great dog photo being used by the company Eukanuba in a marketing campaign.



The text of the "Zelda" advertisement is this:

She can swim to a life raft 1 1/4 miles offshore and swim back pulling it, and the thirty stranded passengers, with her.


Zelda. Half dog, half powerboat.


Bring out the extraordinary in your dog.

In that first post, I expressed my disappointment in finding nothing more about Zelda the dog--the ad was effective in that it got me hooked, but failed when there was no follow-up information.

Zelda was a mystery.

Well, during my blogging hiatus, I was contacted by Phil who provided the truth behind the "Zelda" photo:

The image was purchased from him by Eukanuba and features his dog "Sierra."  The description of Zelda that accompanies the ad was invented by the company.

In Phil's post on the topic at his blog Phil's Depth of Field, he includes some interesting facts about what part of the image was altered and what Sierra the dog really eats.

You can go here to read his post and see additional Sierra photos.

In sum, Phil takes great photos, Eukanubu officials were wise to use the image, but their text created a demand for follow-up information on Zelda, and I believe they failed to meet that interest.

Thanks again to Phil for taking time to contact me and solve the Zelda mystery.


27 comments:

Jax said...

I remember that post!! I really though you were going to tell me some great, heroic dog story. We've been tricked!

Sue said...

We've all been tricked, Jax! Not by Slam, though. I wonder, if the story is fictional, they what does that say about the dog food?

Phil's photographs are beautiful!

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

I love it! I'm just tickled that he found you and got in touch!

My aunt breeds Siberian Huskies and over the years, some of my "cousins" if you will, have made it into print. She and my uncle were actually extras on an episode of Sex in the City with the dogs.

StrongNHim said...

That is crazy and disappointing... LOL

vic caswell (aspiring-x) said...

egads!
there are so many ACTUALLY heroic dogs out there. if they wanted to go the route of the heroic dog, they should have just done that.
i'm so frustrated.

we had a house fire a couple years back. it originated in my eli's room. i believe he was seven at the time. anyway, his puppy Brownie woke him up and pushed him out of the room. he couldn't see for the smoke to find his way out of his room. and the room was so narrow... he had to go right near the flames. but Brownie didn't leave him, until she got him out. then he alerted the rest of us to the fire... it was midnight, we were asleep. so really, Brownie saved us all.

and she's just one of many, many hero dogs.

sheesh!

Bob G. said...

Slamdunk:
Who'da thunk we'd get bamboozled by such a lovely dog...

Still, a good ending with the REAL truth coming to light.
Excellent photo.
Nicely done.

Stay safe.

Pat Hatt said...

Hmph I thought it was real too. Those tricky advertisers have no shame.

oceangirl said...

Wow you are the investigator. I'll drop-by Phil's now.

Elana Johnson said...

Very cool follow up. Thanks for sharing!

Kell said...

Kind of crazy to find out just how much advertisers yank our chains.

messymimi said...

Thank you for this.

Any time you see any person or animal hawking anything, remember it is a pitch from an actor, usually not real.

If they had searched for a real hero dog to use that ate their food, they would have had to pay more to use the image and story. Making something up and buying someone's photo that appealed to them was cheaper.

Hilary said...

Well it's good to know.. ish. Very kind of him to contact you with his details.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Huh, interesting. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful dog, but it's too bad there's no real Zelda. :(

Lisa said...

I actually used this ad in my Strategic Campaigns class as an example of a great idea with poor execution. We discussed how the company missed a golden opportunity to capitalize on a great cause marketing campaign.

Momma Fargo said...

Zelda-Sierra is one of the most beautiful labs and bravo on Phil for taking a great photo. Bravo on Eukanuba for a great advertising campaign...rats on their lack of oversight for public interest of a hero. We all need a hero. I guess we can appreciate Sierra as a beautiful dog.

Clarissa Draper said...

What a cool story! I didn't know the picked dogs for ads like this.

Nikole Hahn said...

Neat! Yeah, advertisers would do well to have follow-up or more information in this day and age. A story like that requires follow up. Good job!

Phil Romans said...

Thank you everyone for all the kind words about Sierra, aka Zelda.

I had no idea there were so many strong opinions on advertising like this. I never set out to make an advertisement photo, I was only taking photos of my dog to share.

Link to all my Sierra photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdu2boy/sets/737707/

Beth Zimmerman said...

I don't suppose we should be surprised that advertisers lie to us but it's still disappointing!

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Very pretty dog. I heard there was a similar "scandal" involving the dog from the Artist.

Brian Miller said...

and if they are willing to fabricate stories...what else are they fabricating...

Miss Caitlin S. said...

Such deceit. I remember this post too! It's still an amazing picture but it's sad to have proof that we are constantly being manipulated in the name of marketing.

Maxi said...

Thanks for this one, Slam. Wonder what Sierra would tell us if she had a say in being used?

Blessings - Maxi

Theresa Milstein said...

So sad. Nobody should work alone.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

How nice of Phil to contact you ;) I've been wondering about this LOL!

Zelda--a heart bigger than Milwaukee and endurance worth more than gold . . . pure gold. *smiling* I just had to ;)

Secret Agent Woman said...

Beautiful dog but a shame they made the story up out of whole cloth.

Kyle Roland said...

So funny thing is my friend showed me this ad. We have a black lab named zelda looks just like tho one in the ad. Sham about it being untrue.