Saturday, June 07, 2008

Prague Bag

This is a simple post about dogs and the people who love them. Sort of. It’s also a post about cities. Human ingenuity. Advertising. Let’s start with the fact that Rob Schoenbeck brought me a pass-along souvenir from his recent trip overseas: a Fedog bag (that’s it on the left).

In Czech, this is papírové sáčky na psí exkrementy – a paper set for dog crap. It was invented in 1995 because, “The daily amount of dogs’ excrements comes up to 20 tons in Prague alone.”

It’s a combination unit, the paper bag plus scooper plus advertising.

See how it works on the website – it offers an animated demo. “The paper bag is easily degradable in the nature. The scoop minimizes the aversion to pick up the excrement. The bag together with its content can be composted. The full bags can disposed of by burning, depositing in dumping grounds or recycled by composing.” I’m not making fun of the English writing here – I couldn’t even start in the original tongue.

I went straight to my long-time Dialogue International resource, Graham Rust, the great and powerful principal of Rust2 in The Czech Republic. He ‘splained:

Prague is plagued with dogs. It’s not like Bucharest which apparently has packs of feral dogs roaming the streets, but like citizens of all around the world, Praguers just don’t see the problem with keeping a huge animal in a fifth floor apartment in the city centre.

Some time ago the city installed special litter bits with bag dispensers (left) and sometimes you even see them being used.

The other glut we suffer from is advertising, on anything which stays still long enough, so it’s no surprise to see someone trying to sell space on this sharply targeted medium. Not sure there will be many takers. Public opinion on advertising is pretty low, but things are not so bad that we deserve a literal interpretation of McCluhan’s “the medium is the message.”

The engineer in me (of which there is precisely none, really) is intrigued with the concept of putting the carboard scooper inside the bag and putting the whole set in a handy dispenser. The city-dweller in me wishes to see this in the US, though we seem more conscious of the effect of many dogs on local sidewalks – and more willing to do something about it at the moment of generation.

The ad guy says, “This is outstanding – for somebody else’s clients.” And actually, I could see some real value if an entire city program was underwritten by a major veterinary clinic in the area or even a dog food manufacturer like Purina®. I can see Nestlé Purina PetCare underwriting an effort like this.

As Graham notes, the Fedog set is a precisely targeted medium – the smart advertiser could use that to its advantage and add a bit more environmental shine to its brand.

As I said, go to – Czech it out for yourself.


Richard Laurence Baron said...

I asked a question about this subject on LinkedIn and got some good answers - which I'm posting in this comments section. Follow along if you're riveted by this subject. Ta for the weekend...RLB.

Karen Blanchard, APR said...

Perhaps, I have spent too much time with my 9-year-old son this weekend, but that animated demonstration of a canine struck the immature part of my funny bone as chuckle worthy.

Anyway, at the Houston's fabulous dog parks there are plastic dog doo doo dispensers with uniquely-shaped plastic bags. The long bag fits like a long ballgown glove. So, without the advantage of an animated demo, I think you can visualize simply grapping and inversing bag over gripped hand.

Phil Bernstein said...

No, this hasn't come to my town yet. But some day soon, a car dealer will have a bad weekend, cancel all his radio and TV, and put his entire budget into a dog poop bag campaign.

The good news is that whatever happens to traditional media, there will always be dog poop. Which means that I'll always have a job.

Joanne Patricello said...

Yes, we have "doggie doo" bag dispensers in New York. (By law, you have to pick up after your dog in the state of NY) You can usually find them at state parks that welcome dogs and dog parks. The bags themselves are normally plastic, so I don't think there is room for any clever advertising...

Kevin Horst said...

One of the few organizations I can think of, that I wouldn't ridicule for such a mixed message if it were proposed, would be the Parks Department, requesting the holder of said bag, be used for its intended purpose, and then its contents be disposed of appropriately.

Basically, the ad would be designed to be tossed, so you'd have to link that to a future purchase of goods or services....

Ken Bullock said...

I haven't advertised in Doggie Sanitary Bags...though thinking about it you could do some neat stuff. You have to figure that could be a neat demographic to advertise to. I would imagine that you would have two demographics in this media. One would be the thoughtful and dutiful dog owner who know the impact and is trying to be mindful. The other demographic would be (as expected) would be the people who hate it and see it as a real problem and pick up other people's dog droppings.

For the first group you could advertise things like healthy food (You can see it in their stool...LOL). Or maybe things like heart/tap worm preventative (since as some dog people know we can tell by their droppings). You might even be able to use it as an educational media for dog owners (sort of advertorial like you see in magazine).

For the second group you could advertise for poop scooping services or dog/animal ultrasonic repellors and other means of doggie waste disposal. You might even do realty advertising for somewhere that has a lower dog population...LOL!!!