For the past five years, thermoformer and injection molder MacNeil Automotive Products Ltd.'s WeatherTech brand has been part of the world's biggest football game, airing ads featuring its "Made in the U.S." story and products.
Last year, it added a second ad, focused on a new line of pet products and featuring CEO David MacNeil's own dog, a golden retriever named Scout.
Bolingbrook, Ill.-based MacNeil Automotive and its crew was on set this summer, filming what was probably going to become its Super Bowl commercial, when staff and crew found out that Scout had collapsed.
Veterinarians found a tumor on the top-right chamber of his heart that resulted in the leaking of blood. They recommended that MacNeil have Scout put down.
But when David MacNeil walked into the veterinary clinic and saw Scout wagging his tail, he knew he couldn't go through with it. "He is a very happy 6-year-old golden retriever," MacNeil said.
So he took Scout to the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where MacNeil says they implemented an aggressive treatment program.
WeatherTech's original Super Bowl plan had been to do another "Made in America" commercial, said Jac Mansour, chief creative officer at Pinnacle Advertising, WeatherTech's agency of record. "But David said, 'No, we are going to tell Scout's story.'"