Owned by a duo from Goa, which pug was the popular face of advertisements – despite protests from PETA – for mobile operator Hutchison Essar?

Cheeka is a pug who appeared in the “You & I” advertising campaign of Hutchison Essar’s cellular service in India, along with the child actor Jayaram.

The television ad was the first to be shot, a 60-second sequence in lush green Goa. The role of the boy was played by Jayaram, an eight-year-old who had already starred in four other ads. Cheeka was suggested for the role by an assistant at Nirvana Films, the makers of the ad. The campaign became a hit, and was soon followed by a print version for newspapers. Cheeka earned ?150,000 for the campaign, and appeared in Hutch ads, till the merger with Vodafone India, representing the network. She featured with her pink nose, when Hutch changed its signature color from orange to pink.

The ad campaign was followed by a rise in the popularity of pugs in India, and the sale of pugs more than doubled within months, with prices shooting up from about ?10,000 to ?20,000-60,000. A few other ads also appeared in the following months, inspired by the idea of a dog following a boy. In addition, Cheeka was the wallpaper most often downloaded by Hutch customers onto their phone screens in 2005.


Picture Credit : Google