Sock Puppet Dog - Brown and white spokes-sock with button eye and a wry
sense of humor which represented the San Francisco-based electronic retailer
Pets.com beginning in 1999.
Michael Ian Black, a 29-year-old actor (who later
played Phil Stubbs, the Stuckeybowl manager on NBC's ED) brought the Pets.com's
Sock Puppet mascot to life. Much of what he said was ad-libbed.
Armed with a
microphone and a Timex watch around his neck, the Pet.com Sock Puppet dog was
called a "Johnny Appleseed" spreading the good news that "Pets.com makes it
easier for you to care for your pet, makes it easier for you to make your pet
According to executive John Hommeyer, the company (who notes "Pet's
can't drive") considered giving a first name to their spokes-puppet, but in the
end, they chose not to because "this way people are always saying, `Pets.com'."
The ad campaign was created by the advertising firm of TBWA/Chiat/Day.
Within nine months of its introduction, the Pets.com Sock Puppet became a
cultural icon akin to The Energizer Bunny and Kermit the Frog. He appeared on
GOOD MORNING AMERICA (with Diane Sawyer) and on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee,
ACCESS HOLLYWOOD and NIGHTLINE. He also received coverage in such print
magazines as Entertainment Weekly, People, Time, and Mad magazine.
Puppet also earned the lofty position as a 36-foot balloon/float ("falloon") in
Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and had the honor of attending the 2000 Academy
Awards ceremony. Adweek magazine recognized our adorable Sock Puppet as
the best offline campaign for an online brand.
And among more than a dozen commercials, perhaps the most memorable aired on
Super Bowl XXXIV, when the Sock Puppet pleaded to pet owners everywhere,
"Please, don't go."
February of 2000, an original Pets.com Sock Puppet was auctioned on Amazon.com
Auctions for $20,100 with the proceeds going to Pets.commitment, Pets.com's
Merchandise such as hats, T-shirts and placemats (licensed by Hakan &
Associates) further added to push the popularity of the Pets.com sock puppet.
The Sock Puppet attributed his popularity to the advice given to him by such
notables as Lamb Chop and the Muppets who taught him "if you can synch up your
hand motions with your voice, you can own the world." (as told to Ad Week, June
Despite the overwhelming popularity of the Sock Puppet, the Pets.com company
went bankrupt in 2000 along with many other Dot.Com companies. One TV show who
had fun satirizing the Sock Puppet was THE CONAN O'BRIAN SHOW through the antics
of another hand puppet known as Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. Before going
bankrupt, Pets.com threatened a lawsuit for creating an "unsavory mental
association" between the puppets.
Out of Work, the Pets.com Sock Puppet landed a gig at the 2001 xSP World in
Boston where he sang Freddy Mercury's Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody. He replaced
the lyrics “Nothing really matters, anyone can see” with “Profits really matter,
anyone can see.”
Soon after, our former Pets.com "celebrisock" found employment as with 1-800-Bar
None, an auto loan company that secures loans for people who have trouble
getting financing. The company's tagline is "Everyone deserves a second chance."
The spots were created by PB&J Partners. On he first commercial, the Sock Puppet
explained “I used to be top dog.”
TRIVIA NOTE: The Sock Puppet lived in a drawer and
had a problem working with humans. He has 20/3000 vision in his right eye. His
best friends were Uncle Wiggles the Parakeet and and Coco the Himalayan cat.
When asked how he was discovered the Sock Puppet replied "Remember how Lana
Turner was discovered in an ice cream parlor? It was just like that, only
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