Fascinating Hush Puppies trivia and a vintage dog ads slideshow
Founded in 1958, the shoes were almost called "Lasers" before the advertising manager, James Muir, heard that farmers often threw hush puppy corn fritters at their hounds to quiet the barking dogs. If I bark long enough, I wonder if someone will throw a hush puppy at me...the corn fritter not the shoe!
Muir quickly made the connection between the commonly used idiom of the day, to call one's sore feet "barking dogs" and the new shoes. He surmised that the shoes were so comfortable they could "quiet barking dogs."
Dogs in vintage ads, posters and magazines
Hush Puppies shoes are credited with saving the life of Rolling Stones band member, Keith Richards, when his guitar touched an ungrounded microphone at a 1965 concert, knocking him unconscious. Medics believe that the crepe soles of his Hush Puppies protected him from harm by insulating him. Did Hush Puppies save the future of Rock 'n Roll?
It wasn't until the late 1980's that the company hired a real live Basset spokeshound, Jason, a perky house pet and "ham" who fit the bill perfectly. The adverting agency put Jason in all kinds of amusing situations, including a recreation of Marilyn Monroe's famous subway grate photo with his ears playing the part of her billowing dress.
Jason even sported a birthmark identical to that of Mikhail Gorbachev's for a Glasnost Hush Puppies ad after the company received an invitation from the Soviet leader to be the first American company to do business in the Soviet Union. I'm sure it was Jason's soulful eyes that melted the dictator's heart.