Wendy Melillo

Journalist. Author. Educator.

New York Times: McGruff the Crime Dog, Outliving His Creator, Fights On

By Zach Schonbrun
The New York Times

Jack Keil had the slogan first. He wrote six words — “Take a bite out of crime” — on the back of an envelope in a Kansas City airport lounge.

The slogan stuck, and so has the character that growls them. Nearly four decades later, McGruff the Crime Dog, Mr. Keil’s cartoon hound with that guttural voice and floppy trench coat, is still one of the country’s most recognizable advertising figures, perhaps rivaled only by icons like Smokey Bear, Ronald McDonald and Mr. Peanut.

NPR: The competing interests behind Smokey Bear and the Crying Indian

You might remember phrases like "Only you can prevent forest fires," spoken by Smokey Bear or "take a bite outta crime," from McGruff the Crime Dog. But how much do you really know about the company behind these iconic campaigns? Tell Me More guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with Wendy Melillo, author of the new book How McGruff and the Crying Indian Changed America: A History of Iconic Ad Council Campaigns about some of the hidden messages within these ads.