First advert aimed at dogs, not their owners, to hit your TV screen tonight
IF YOUR dog starts barking at the television this evening, don't be alarmed.
The first ever advert created specially for dogs - featuring high-pitched sounds that cannot be heard by humans - is due to be broadcast on ITV1 tonight.
The commercial, a minute-long send-up of The Italian Job, also features whistles and barks intended to catch the attention of even the most indolent of canines.
Bakers, the dog food manufacturer which commisioned the advert, hope the sounds will provoke a reaction from dogs in living rooms across the country, fooling their owners into thinking they are interested in the products on the screen.
Carolyn Menteith, of the Kennel Club, said most dogs were most likely to react to the unfamiliar sound by pricking up their ears or tilting their head to pay attention, while some might wander up to the television set.
A small number of particularly noise-sensitive dogs may be spooked by the sound and bark or hide under the sofa, but the distress would be no worse than hearing other unfamiliar sounds, she explained.
The marketing ploy is especially clever because dogs are largely uninterested in visual stimuli, so owners may notice their pets looking directly at the television screen for the very first time, she added.
Bakers tested the advert, which features noises above 17,000 Hertz, on 12 dogs while the animals were distracted with a toy, and found that in each case they stopped playing and reacted to the sound in some way.
The advert will be screened on ITV1 at 7.15pm today, during a break in the soap Emmerdale.
A similar advert by Nestlé to promote their Purina brand of pet food was screened in Austria last year and could come to British television in 2012.