CEO Takes Out $6M Super Bowl Ad About His Dog

David MacNeil hopes viewers donate to veterinary research
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2020 8:44 AM CST

WeatherTech's unofficial mascot, Scout, appeared in the auto accessories company's 2019 Super Bowl ad. And the 7-year-old golden retriever is back for 2020, both because of and in spite of an aggressive cancer treatment carried out at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. Scout's owner, WeatherTech CEO David MacNeil, was told last summer that his dog had only a month to live due to a cancer of the blood vessel walls called hemangiosarcoma, per USA Today. "There he was in this little room … and he's wagging his tail at me. I'm like, 'I'm not putting that dog down. There's just absolutely no way,'" MacNeil tells WMTV. Scout then underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and experimental immunotherapy that nearly eradicated the tumor on his heart, per Forbes. To thank veterinarians, MacNeil took out a $6 million ad.

"Hi, I'm Scout. And I'm a lucky dog," a voice says in the 30-second ad starring Scout; it will air during the second quarter of Sunday's game. Viewers are asked to donate to the UW School of Veterinary Medicine. There's no mention of WeatherTech products, though the company itself is identified throughout. The dean of the school—which in 2019 began a 5-year trial of a canine vaccine intended to protect against cancer—says the ad is "an amazing opportunity" not only for the university "but for veterinary medicine worldwide." "We're thrilled to share with Super Bowl viewers how our profession benefits beloved animals like Scout and helps people, too" since "so much of what's known globally today about how best to diagnose and treat devastating diseases such as cancer originated in veterinary medicine," says Mark Markel. (Read more Super Bowl ads stories.)

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