Tag Archives: 90s advertising

Flashback Friday — “Take a bite out of crime!”

Take a bite out of crime.

Why would anyone want to take a bite out of crime? It’s doubtful that most connoisseurs of fine food and drink would be familiar with the taste of crime anyway. There are no restaurants that have “Crime” on the menu and we can only imagine how a waiter would describe the flavors to a customer.

“Today’s special is Crime, prepared exactly how you like it. The flavors are quite bitter and sour and the dish is served with a side of jail time. The side can be substituted for prison time, ruined relationships and complete misery for an additional cost.”

This Flashback Friday we will look at the dog that popularized crime prevention among adults and kids for the past three decades.

I don’t think the face above needs any introduction. Seeing the picture probably brings back memories of childhood school events and community awareness days. Or perhaps the image triggered a suppressed memory of a Chicago zip code you can somehow recite: 60652.

McGruff the crime dog is the creation of advertising agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample (now Saatchi & Saatchi), which volunteered its creative time and talent to the Advertising Council, Inc. in 1978; the mission was to help the nation learn ways to prevent crime.

The bloodhound dog is more than just a great way to educate about crime prevention. It is a masterpiece in marketing and advertising.

The image is widely recognized among adults. Seventy-three (73%) percent of adults recognize the image of McGruff and ninety-four (94%) percent know him once the name is mentioned according to the National Crime Prevention Council.

Children recognize the trench-coat clad dog just as often with seventy-eight (78%) recognizing the dog without being prompted on his name and ninety-three (93%) percent knew after being given the name.

Connoisseurs of fine food and drink may not appreciate the bitter taste crime has, however, advertising enthusiasts can appreciate a good dish when we see one.

Customer comment cards are always appreciated and can be sent to the restaurant manager at:


Chicago, IL. 60652.