Ouch! French Bulldog Replaces Kim Kardashian in Super Bowl Ad

The star's partnership with the shoe company has gone to the dogs as they establish themselves as "more than a lifestyle company"

Last year, Skechers rolled out a super suggestive Super Bowl ad that starred Kim Kardashian. This year, the sneaker company is unveiling yet another big budget spot -- and it stars a French bulldog.

Is this a sign of the times? French bulldogs did have a great year in 2011, and Kardashian…well, didn't.

Let's be honest, Sonny the Dog practically stole the movie Due Date (which premiered at the end of 2010) from Zach Galifianakis and Robert Downey Jr. And Modern Family's Stella, Jay Pritchett's (Ed O'Neill) shoe-gnawing Frenchie, manages to add her own comedy to that sitcom even while just sitting around. The Super Bowl spot features an equally adorable pup, who's sporting two pairs of Sketchers from the company's new GOrun collection. He's racing a pack of greyhounds. And guess who wins? The Frenchie! So cute!

2011 was not as kind to Kardashian. She had a "fairy tale wedding" to Kris Humphries that quickly devolved into a grim divorce, which left not a few disgruntled fans wondering whether the whole relationship was fabricated for TV ratings.

Did Skechers switch ad strategies (from sexy female-of-the-moment to cute dog-of-the-moment) in response to the public backlash against Kardashian? No way, said Leonard Armato, the company's president. "Kim got us more attention than we ever dreamed," he told USA Today. "We have to establish Skechers as more than a lifestyle company."

"To say that she was 'dropped' or 'replaced' is misleading and untrue," said the company's CEO Robert Greenberg. "Skechers has enjoyed and continues to enjoy the relationship with Kim, and in fact we continue to discuss ways that we may work together in the future."

And the company continued its damage control in a statement to Us Weekly: "Not only did Kim's Skechers Super Bowl ad generate over 1.6 billion positive media impressions for Skechers, but she played a big part in Skechers moving up last year from 388 to 99 among companies with the highest brand trust."

But there's no denying that in the realm of popular opinion, the Kardashian descent and the French bulldog's rise have happened pretty much simultaneously. So, is this year's Skechers Super Bowl ad a sign of the times? While you're deciding, why not click on this Animal Planet link about Frenchies? So adorable!

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