USA Network lets dogs out to raise Westminster buzz

NEW YORK: USA Network let the dogs out in New York last week to raise the buzz about this week's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

NEW YORK: USA Network let the dogs out in New York last week to raise the buzz about this week's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

USA, which has exclusive rights to broadcast the event, arranged for 100 purebred dogs wearing branded "overcoats" to wander the streets of the city with handlers. The coats featured USA's slogan, "We love dogs," along with broadcast information.

The canines could be spotted at high-traffic areas such as Times Square, Union Square, and Central Park.

"We're always thinking about how we can do things a little differently - do something that's out of the norm," explained USA's Tom Caraccioli.

The dogs were provided by Rochester, NY-based K-9 Billboards. The company has a pack of more than 2,300 dogs in 50 markets across the country that are available as four-legged outdoor advertisements. The company has been in business for two years and has other corporate clients such as AT&T.

This is its first project with USA.

"This is actually our Super Bowl of events," said K-9 owner Mark Vinci.

"It was difficult to pick the dogs for this because there was so much interest."

The idea for the canine cadre was sparked when Vinci bought an Akita puppy two years ago, and noticed that people would stop on the street or even get out of their cars to pet the pup.

"I kind of jokingly said, 'What if I put an advertisement on the dog?' and one thing led to another," he explained.

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