Before She Was Famous

Remember when Julia Roberts was in Mystic Pizza? This is sort of the dog-food-advertising version of that.

The pooch shown here was a relative unknown when she was cast in this breeder-targeted ad for Purina in 2002. She was an up-and-coming German shorthair pointer whose résumé was impressive but hardly a blockbuster—winner of a handful of All-Breed Best in Show and Specialty All-Breed Best in Show awards and a fan of Purina Pro Plan food. Her official name, “Ch Kan-Points VJK Autumn Roses,” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. But maybe you know her by her nickname, Carlee.

Yes, Carlee is now a superstar, winner of this year’s Westminster Dog Show. The Purina team at Colle + McVoy, which created the ad, is thrilled. “It was surprising and exciting,” says Jody Estensen, management supervisor at the Minneapolis shop. “A lot of the dogs [in the campaign] have gone on to great things, but none have made it out of their groups.”

Estensen says she always knew Carlee had the goods to become a Westminster champ. “[Her] look has not changed from three or four years ago,” she says. There are no plans to re-run the ad noting Carlee’s greatest achievement—more likely for Purina to point out, we think, is that five of the seven Westminster finalists are Purina-fed pups.