The Lassie Brand

The Lassie Brand

By: Kerrin Winter-Churchill  Date: 08/25/2014

We cringe to hear the expression "The Lassie Brand." It sounds so cold and corporate. But the term seems to be the siren call for DreamWorks Animation which is counting on the trademark to pull them out of the financial doldrums. Lassie, the Brand was purchased by DreamWorks Animation in 2012 as a part of a $155 million character library acquisition

Pal, the original "Lassie Brand"

The company has sent Lassie on the road to redemption - but not for the sake of her name - rather for the sake of the floundering company's pocketbooks. Its a modern version of "dog saves studio."

"Our ambitions are global," said Michael R. Francis, DreamWorks Animation’s chief brand officer, "dog food, dog accessories, dog grooming, dog beds, dog training," targeted mainly at adults. None of these planned Lassie products are available right now, but the studio says deals for all of them are in the works. Francis goes on to say that motion picture work isn't necessary - they can make millions off the dog just by selling her brand to everything from grooming supplies, dog food, and dog training accessories.

A motion picture studio using dogs to shill products isn't new but here is where it gets weird: DreamWorks Animation went even further, asking the animal rights megachurch, Best Friends Animal Society to endorse Lassie as a Canine Ambassador. With its popular "no kill nation" message, Lassie does seem to be the right choice to usher in a kinder, more animal friendly society - but the group's adamant message, that adopting is a "no-brainer" choice over buying a dog, and that mixed breed are "healthier" than purebreds conflicts with this endorsement. If Best Friends is going to use a purebred dog that can best be acquired from a responsible breeder as an ambassador, it would behoove them to change their message to embrace all dogs - mixed breeds and purebreds - or for DreamWorks to seek a different organization's endorsement.

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