David MacNeil, the CEO who spent millions on a Super Bowl ad with his dog Scout, says he hopes the pricey spot will save lives instead of just sell products.
After Scoutcollapsed from an uncommon heart tumor last summer, MacNeil was given heartbreaking news. The golden retriever was diagnosed with cancer, and vets said he only had a month to live. MacNeil, not ready to say goodbye, rejected the prognosis.
Scout is now on his way to being cancer free, and to thank the vets that saved him, his owner got them an unconventional gift: a $6 million spot during this Sunday’s Super Bowl.
MacNeil, CEO of car accessories company Weathertech, was so grateful to the team that saved his dogs life, he felt like a donation alone wasn’t enough.
“There’s so many companies selling this snack or this beer, that car or truck or whatever,” MacNeil said to NBC Nightly News. “I’m like, ‘What can I do that’s a really good thing to do to help the university and the school and animals?’”
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MacNeil was on a business trip in France when he got the call that 7-year-old Scout had collapsed and needed to be put to sleep. He immediately got on a plane and flew back to Wisconsin to be by his dog’s side.
“I land, five minutes later I’m at the vet hospital. He’s sitting there in the corner wagging his tail going ‘Hey dad, great to see you. I’m tired of this place let’s go home,’” he said. “And I’m like, ‘I’m not putting that dog down. There’s absolutely no way.’”
Six weeks of chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy later, the tumor was down 78% in size. Two weeks after that it was down by another 50%.
Mackenzie Pellin, a veterinary oncologist at the University of Wisconsin, was part of the team that treated Scout. She told Nightly News about how calm and resilient Scout was when undergoing surgeries and treatment.
“He is a very good boy. He is so calm. He loves everyone. He loves every dog he meets,” she said.
Pellin said the Superbowl ad, which encourages people to donate to the veterinary school’s research, will help her team conduct more research and help more animals.
“While the kind of magnitude of Scout’s story that we can tell it with a Super Bowl commercial is unique, certainly the connection that he has with his owner — that love between an owner and their dog — is not unique,” she said.
For now, Scout is still battling small tumors in his lungs, but MacNeil plans to continue fighting it, and Pellin says he’s responding well.
“He’s amazingly important,” MacNeil said. “He’s a regular, solid member of our family.”