WeatherTech has become pretty famous for its Super Bowl ads. One star of the company’s ads is Scout, a 7-year-old golden retriever owned by WeatherTech CEO David MacNeil.
Scout is featured in the company’s 2020 Super Bowl ad—which cost almost $6 million—but this time, the ad is all about him.
Last summer, Scout developed hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer of the blood vessel walls, and his tumor was on his heart. Surgical removal of the tumor obviously was not an option, and the dog was given a grim prognosis: he had about a month to live.
David MacNeil remembered the day he heard Scout’s diagnosis. “There he was in this little room, standing in the corner… and he’s wagging his tail at me. I’m like ‘I’m not putting that dog down. There’s just absolutely no way,’” he told WMTV.
In an effort to save Scout and give him the best possible quality of life, MacNeil took him to the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, where he immediately received chemotherapy and advanced radiation therapy that specifically targets the tumor and minimizes damage to adjacent tissues. The treatment worked: About a month later, Scout’s tumor had shrunk by more than 75 percent.
To celebrate Scout’s new lease on life, David MacNeil decided that in this year’s Super Bowl ad, he wanted to share the dog’s story and the incredible work done by UW veterinarians—and he wanted to give back to the team that saved Scout’s life.
The commercial, titled “Lucky Dog,” aired during the second half of Super Bowl LIV, on February 2, 2020. The ad follows Scout’s journey as a cancer survivor, celebrates the work being done at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine, and encourages viewers to donate to the school’s cancer research efforts through a special link on the WeatherTech website.
“Scout’s illness devastated us,” said MacNeil. “We wanted this year’s Super Bowl effort to not only raise awareness, but also financial support for the incredible research and innovative treatments happening at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine, where Scout is still a patient. We wanted to use the biggest stage possible to highlight Scout’s story and these incredible breakthroughs, which are not just limited to helping dogs and pets. This research will help advance cancer treatments for humans as well, so there’s the potential to save millions of lives of all species.”
Funds raised by the Super Bowl commercial will be used to support research at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine to better diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer, and for the purchase of specialized equipment that will help clinicians and researchers in identifying new cancer-fighting drugs and treatments.
Unfortunately, Scout only survived for about a month and a half after the commercial aired. “For seven years, our beloved Scout brought indescribable joy to the lives of his WeatherTech family,” the donation page on the website reads. “On March 22, 2020, he bravely crossed the rainbow bridge to that special place where he no longer has to fight cancer. He died a hero, and although not here in body, his spirit continues on, advocating for other pets in need of lifesaving treatment. Scout brought international attention to canine cancer and rallied people worldwide to donate to the cause.”
We extend our sincere condolences to David MacNeil and his family on the loss of their beloved dog.
Check out the commercial. But have tissues handy.
Photo by EQRoy / Shutterstock.com