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Canon "Fans"

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Which has a stronger claim on your affections -- dogs or professional athletes? Those who'd make the canine choice (surely a majority of Americans) will be a receptive audience for this Canon PowerShot spot (via Dentsu America) in which the very-long-legged Maria Sharapova is upstaged by her very-short-legged dog. The recurring shtick: Fans ask if they can take a photo (of her, Sharapova assumes) and, when given permission, proceed to take a shot of her dog. Let us stipulate that the joke is not uproariously funny, but it's pleasant enough. The spot's launch is timed to the U.S. Open, though Sharapova is missing the tournament due to an injury. But my hunch is that another aspect of its timing (i.e., coming right after the end of the Beijing Olympics will augment is appeal. After a couple weeks in which single-minded practitioners of various oddball sports were treated by the media as god-like figures, it's refreshing to see a big-deal, big-sport champion being taken down a notch (if only in good-natured jest). And, though she shouldn't quit her day job, Sharapova does a decent job of acting the role of the mildly miffed prima donna. --Mark Dolliver