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Dogs Trust slogan in the top ten


To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Dogs Trust slogan “A dog is for life not just for Christmas®” the charity has commissioned new research which looks at the success of the slogan and how our relationship with dogs has changed since 1978.

The slogan was the brainchild of Dogs Trust’s CEO Clarissa Baldwin and was developed to reduce the large numbers of dogs given as Christmas gifts each December only to be abandoned later the next year. Not only is the slogan one of the most recognisable strap lines in the UK – but its message has been heeded. In 1978 20% of dogs were given as gifts whereas in 2008 this figure was just 1.8%.

Although the figure has dropped significantly – it means that almost 131,400 dogs are still given as gifts. Dogs Trust is using its anniversary to highlight the continued relevance of its slogan. With the recent opening of a ‘puppy superstore’ in Leeds, the charity is concerned that it will see an influx of unwanted dogs in 2009 from people who make an impulse purchase at the superstore in the run up to Christmas.

Clarissa Baldwin, Chief Executive Dogs Trust explains: “I am delighted that the ‘dog is for life’ slogan has made such an impact and has helped save thousands of dogs from unsuitable homes. I would like to think that some day our slogan will become redundant, but with the existing problems of puppy farms and puppy superstores, it is just as relevant today as it was in 1978. Our anniversary offers the perfect opportunity to remind people that dogs are not fashion accessories or disposable items that can be upgraded or discarded after a few months.”

Over the past 30 years the Dogs Trust slogan has given rise to many parodies and copycat slogans including:

· “Fathers are for life, not just for conception”
(Fathers 4 Justice, 2008)

· “A Rabbit is for life, not just for Christmas”
(Ann Summers, 2005)

· “A brussel sprout is for life, not just for Christmas
(The British Sprout Assoc, 2004)

· “A dog is for life, not just for the White House”
(BBC News, Nov 2008)

· “Tax cuts are for life, not just for Christmas”
(David Cameron, Nov 2008)

Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman Ogilvy Group UK, explains the slogan’s enduring success: “Today the art of the sloganeer has fallen a little out of fashion but there still remain a few examples of the writer's craft that will never fall from grace for they remain a timeless encapsulation of a organisation's philosophy and purpose in a single aphorism. The Dogs Trust slogan is a classic example and belongs in the all-time top ten.”