Invest In A Beautiful Metal Dog
October 2, 2015 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Why does this ad for Oppenheimer Funds have a futuristic robot dog in it?

The elevators at my office have LCD screens in them that show 15-second ads all day. (The ad network is called Captivate, because you're stuck in the elevator, ha ha get it?) In the last couple of weeks they've been showing a series of ads for Oppenheimer Funds. All of the ads are little videos showing heartwarming and inspirational things like children playing in a field and a man carrying a huge number of soccer balls on the back of a motorbike. The videos are always framed by the same image, which depicts a child sitting by a lake with his best friend: a gleaming, articulated metal dog. I want to stress that none of the videos themselves show the robot dog or anything else out of the ordinary. Is this linked to some television or billboard campaign I'm unaware of? Did I wake up inside a Philip K. Dick story? Please help me solve this mystery!
posted by theodolite to Grab Bag (14 answers total)
Not ruling out the possibility that there's some bigger pattern of allusion going on here, but isn't the robot dog accounted for by the theme of the campaign itself? The two slogans on the image you posted read "Invest in a Beautiful World" and "Invest in the Potential of a Beautiful World". To me, that reads heartwarming + forward-looking, which the boy-and-robot-dog image is, no?
posted by Bardolph at 12:01 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I don't have a single thing to back this up with but with the recent news of resource depletion, global warming, etc. I take it to tie into their motto of "Invest in the potential of a beautiful world" so a robot dog is very futuristic yet the scene is still beautiful i.e. use our investments for a better world to give your kids kids.
posted by lpcxa0 at 12:03 PM on October 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Invest In A Beautiful World uses evocative imagery and scenes from across the globe that convey finding new possibilities in places still being explored, seeing beauty in things others might overlook, and identifying a future still being contemplated. It is a communications platform that creates an emotional connection to rational investment principles, facilitated internally by a brand ambassador program and externally by a new end-to-end customer experience that spans across the key touch-points from TV, print, out-of-home, digital and the face-to-face channel.
source (repeated in various places - presumably a press release).

makes you want to vomit doesn't it?
posted by andrewcooke at 12:10 PM on October 2, 2015

I think the answer (such that it is) may be in the ad copy. Here is a larger photo of the ad.

The world is an amazing place.
Optimistic. Unstoppable. Even courageous.
Where big ideas hide in unusual places.
Cures are found in curious plants.
And magic is made of diodes and pixels.
We look beyond the short term
and see potential in places others overlook.
Rewards down paths others are afraid to go.
And opportunity where you least expect it.
Invest with active managers who have a long-term view, a global perspective
and the courage to go against the herd mentality.
That's the right way to invest
in this big, bold, beautiful world.

So yeah, I think it's equating the robot dog with a forward-thinking future, thinking differently, "big ideas," and "magic is made of diodes and pixels."
posted by mama casserole at 12:10 PM on October 2, 2015

The boy lives in the future hence his robot dog, and unspoiled nature is still a thing hence the surrounding scenery.
posted by windbox at 12:17 PM on October 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

I vote for an ad exec with a wicked dark sense of humor managing to get in an allusion to A Boy and his Dog by Harlan Ellison.
posted by sammyo at 12:37 PM on October 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I agree with windbox. They're showing "look we're in the future and we still have a planet with water and trees and air!" trying to show sustainable practices with technological development I guess.

Though, I'm in marketing and I find their message confusing and it's obviously not super effective if people have to ask what it means. (Not to mention if people don't understand something they'll likely ignore it.)
posted by Crystalinne at 12:45 PM on October 2, 2015

Response by poster: It's a relief to know that you can all see it too. The problem might be on my end, because for me the weapon-like creature provokes an visceral sense of unreality and horror, but I can see how they were going for Exciting Future.

I still think it's weird that even the official press release only obliquely references the cyberdog centerpiece of the campaign.
posted by theodolite at 12:58 PM on October 2, 2015

Looks like the robot dog in the just-released-on-Redbox movie "Roborex"
posted by achrise at 1:19 PM on October 2, 2015

Sometimes images like this are included simply to make the ad campaign memorable, and to get people to pay attention. If it succeeds (and apparently it did in this case) that's a sufficient reason to do it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 1:38 PM on October 2, 2015

Oppenheimer Funds's strapline for this campaign is Look to the Long Term. It's about future dividend investing, hence the future dog.

which I don't find remotely creepy and in fact really love!
posted by DarlingBri at 2:07 PM on October 2, 2015

They're showing "look we're in the future and we still have a planet with water and trees and air!"

I was also thinking it is kind of a Tomorrowland theme they are going for but it seems inconsistent with their message: "water and trees and air but no dogs" for some reason. (Why does Oppenheimer hate real dogs??)
posted by Beti at 8:23 PM on October 2, 2015

My interpretation, because a virus killed all the canines but it's okay, our future robot dogs are just as good maybe better and (so far) "we still have a planet with water and trees and air" hence all forward-thinking and ever-optimistic.
posted by Rash at 11:09 PM on October 2, 2015

sammyo: I vote for an ad exec with a wicked dark sense of humor managing to get in an allusion to A Boy and his Dog by Harlan Ellison.

He'd have to keep that allusion discreet, if that's what it was. The movie ends ... darkly.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:02 PM on October 3, 2015

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