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Pets.Com 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.

Pets Dot Com Sock Puppet Mascot

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 happy."

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.

The Sock 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."

In 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 philanthropy program.

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 2000).

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 totally different."


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