Is This Dog An Ad?
The mystery case of the viral dog and the brands.
Welcome to “Is This an Ad?” — a column in which we take a celebrity’s social media post about a brand or product and find out if they’re getting paid to post about it or what. Because even though the FTC recently came out with rules on this, it’s not always clear. Send a tip for ambiguous tweets or ’grams to email@example.com.
Meet Agador. He is an extremely Good Boy. Yes, you are, Agador, you are such a good boy.
Agador is a maltipoo with an amazing coat. So fluffy! So soft! I love him.
But Agador does some strange things… like, posing with products and tagging the brand.
Like this one with a DELIGHTFULLY chubby baby wearing Honest Company diapers:
And this with Budweiser:
So, are these ads?
Agador is owned by Allan Monteron of New York City. Monteron and his partner also run an account for Agador’s brother Fred. The level of quality of the photos — they’re shot on a real camera instead of a phone — and the styling, props and clothing are all very commercial-friendly. They look like ads.
It’s not unheard of for celebrity dogs to do sponsored stuff. Marnie, the dog with a delightfully waggly tongue, brings in enough revenue through a handful of different streams that her owner was able to quit her day job and focus on Marnie full time. Jiff, the fluffy Pomeranian star, does Instagram ads. And of course felines like Grumpy Cat and Lil’ Bub have been monetizing cuteness since way back to the early 2010s.
Plus, Budweiser has used dogs in its ad campaigns before, right? Remember a little guy named Spuds MacKenzie? They even brought him back recently!
But on the other hand, big brands like Budweiser don’t typically do this kind of lowkey #influencer advertising on Instagram. And while Agador is on his way to viral dogdom, he’s not exactly so insanely popular that you’d imagine Starbucks doing vaguely slippery ads with him.
Improbably, neither of these are ads, Monteron confirmed. He said that Agador HAS done other ads, and that those are clearly marked. And they are!
Note the #sponsored tag in this one:
Sometimes, a viral dog tagging a diaper company in an Instagram is JUST a viral dog tagging a diaper company pro bono. It's also kind of a good strategy if you're hoping to increase your follows. "We tag these major brands in the hopes that they appreciate how we use their products and creativity to provide content that will spark interest to their followers, and repost our content," explained Monteron.
People enjoy genuinely interacting with brands on the internet — you may not get it (I don’t) — but hey. Some people like pineapple on pizza; I don’t judge.