VIDEO: A cat wonders why a child is playing in a giant litterbox

sand-box-shelter-pet-project.jpgOur friends at The Shelter Pet Project have released another ingenious ad campaign featuring newly adopted pets puzzling over their people’s odd behaviors.

In the clip above, a cat wonders why a little boy is playing in a giant litter box (i.e. a sand box). In another, a dog muses, “I’ve never understood why my human won’t leave the house without her leash. I think she’s afraid of getting lost. But it’s okay, I kind of like showing her around.” The tagline: “A person is the best thing to happen to a shelter pet. Be that person.”

We love the campaign, from Chicago ad agency Draftfcb, so I jumped at the chance to interview one of its creators, art director Heather Barnes, to get the behind-the-scenes story.

Petfinder: Where did the idea for the campaign come from?
Barnes: Many people have special relationships with their pets. And most people might say one of the best parts about having a pet is observing them, trying to figure out why they do some of the funny things they do. Well, isn’t it possible that when they give us that little cocked head to the side or funny look, they’re doing the same thing? After all, we humans do a lot of funny things too. Don’t pretend you don’t!

After the jump: The unexpected mishap that happened while filming one of the ads.


Did anything unexpected happen while you were shooting the TV ads?
Shooting the whole series of commercials was a lot of fun. But the funniest thing that happened, by far, was the cat in the cell phone spot actually threw up on the couch. He had a little hairball, I guess. That was unexpected. But he carried on, finishing the commercial like a pro. And we all got a good laugh.

Who came up with the idea for the “Sand Box” ad?
That spot was actually one of the last ones written, and was a collaborative effort like the rest. After throwing out a couple of ideas, we decided it would be funny if a cat thought a sand box was a litter box. And to take it one step further, what might a cat think about a human child playing in a litter box? Would they be jealous? Would they laugh? Would they think it was weird? Seemed logical to us; you just have to think like a cat.

Who is the cat featured in “Sand Box,” and how did you choose him?
The tabby’s name is Tuck. He was a superb actor and also a shelter pet. [All the pets cast in the series of PSAs are former shelter pets from the Los Angeles area.] He was cast because of his easygoing personality and good looks. We casted all our cats and dogs just like we would an actor or actress. But it is something special to get a head shot for a cat. Just makes you smile.

What kind of response has the campaign gotten so far?
The whole campaign has been very well received. The moment they were all uploaded to YouTube, we started to see it catch on. People were tweeting the links for the videos, posting them on their Facebook pages, and emailing them to friends. The “Sand Box” commercial in particular has been very successful. We had a feeling it would be — it was our favorite too. But overall, I think people like the humor in them, and the insight. There are plenty of commercials out there that tug at your heartstrings, but tickling the funny bone is sometimes better. People respond to things they can relate to, especially if it’s something that makes them laugh.

Will you create more of the ads?
Sure thing. If Tuck the cat isn’t too busy shooting a movie with Tom Cruise, we’ll see if he’s available!

View all the ads in the campaign.

Search adoptable Petfinder pets at the Shelter Pet Project website.

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