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Pet Adoption Videos That Don’t Make Me Want to Kill Myself (But Do Make Me a Little Sad)

Shelter Pet Project 2014First things first.

I love the Shelter Pet Project, a joint effort of the Ad Council, Maddie’s Fund, and the Humane Society of the United States  to end the euthanasia of healthy animals.

I wrote a three-part series about it a couple of years ago.

In Part 1, I covered the first phase of the project, which produced and distributed a series of videos aimed at changing the perception of shelter pets as being inferior. The message: Human problems lead to pets being sent to shelters, not problems with the animals.

You can see one of the videos that I highlighted, below.

In Part 2, I discussed how the Shelter Pet Project came under the aegis of the Ad Council, which was enormously influential in helping to spread the word.

In Part 3, I showcased the new (as of late 2011) series of videos and discussed the role that the shelters and the American public need to play in order for the campaign to succeed.

Here’s one example:

I think it’s clear what a huge supporter I am.

But now there’s a new series.

Can we talk?

We’re among friends. I love the new posters that the Shelter Pet Project put out; the one at the top of the page reminds me of a certain shaggy someone.

But the videos that are centerpiece of their new campaign?

And the feline version:

I get it: the sound and visual effects put appealing pets up close to your computer, phone or TV screen. But the bare room? The tapping against the glass? The frenetic running around? They all make me a little sad.

Maybe it’s me. I’ve been in a sad mood lately. I’d love your feedback. What do you think of this new campaign, especially in relation to the earlier ones?

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20 Comments

  1. Cynthia
    Posted February 22, 2014 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Oh noooo.

    Their new campaign is a stinker. Nervous animals are not appealing, who wants to bring home a maniac? Well some people do, but not most. Ads including humans in them are far more persuasive. Who doesn’t want to adopt the smart sweet dog that was ditched by the loser, or the wise mellow pup whose toys appear to be intact (implying this rescue dog has great house manners and will not shred your shoes)? As you know I am a sucker for small scruffy dogs so I might go home with this dog, but not with the neurotic cat.

    I heard a quote yesterday about how negative emotions are part of life and should not be avoided, they can teach you more than positive ones. Still chewing on that one as I work my way out of the current funk.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 22, 2014 at 5:45 am | Permalink

      Ok, I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my reactions! Thanks.

  2. Posted February 22, 2014 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    Hmmm, I think the idea is to show the engaging personalities of the dog and the cat. My husband preferred the new campaign because they showed a dog and a cat behaving like a dog and a cat.

    As a depressive myself, however, just seeing the white studio with the glass is enough to bring on an existential crisis. But I did not see the dog as nervous. He was obviously engaged with something (a treat or toy?) or someone off screen. And he looked genuinely playful.

    So it’s probably not the campaign for you. But I bet it will be effective with a lot of people.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 22, 2014 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      Ah, a campaign geared towards cheerful people…that’ll eliminate a lot of my crowd. Thanks for your input!

  3. Posted February 22, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Oh, I agree. I liked the old campaign a lot better!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 22, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Thanks for coming by — and of course for agreeing with me 😉

  4. Kate K
    Posted February 22, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    The new ads are sterile with no interaction between the pets and people. What’s the message supposed to be? I would think it’s not just appealing to people to save an animal, but to find a companion. Plus I’m a sucker for talking animals and those ads were both smart and funny.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 22, 2014 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Re: being a sucker for talking animals — me too, Kate, as long as they don’t move their lips! Thanks for coming by.

  5. Posted February 22, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I too love the Shelter Pet Project. Anything that promotes pet adoption while making you feel good rather than guilty ranks high on my list.

    Some of the spots are better than others. Although I know their owners/trainers are behind that glass, it does make me smile when the dogs paw the glass, lick the glass and do play bows. I was less enamoured with the cats – bad news because I’m a cat person!

    I didn’t find the backgrounds distracting or depressing because I was too focused on watching the animals. 🙂

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 22, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Great to have another perspective — thanks, Vicki!

  6. Posted February 22, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Meh…this is not the stuff of long-lasting interest or a contender for a viral campaign. Cute for some perhaps, but only for the moment, forgotten the next to my mind. It’s hard to hit that sweet spot, but wow – that first set of videos really did. It’s all about the stories…as told by talking dogs of course!

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      You’re right, stories sell. I guess even the Ad Council has its off campaigns, but this one really surprised me.

  7. Lisa Williams
    Posted February 22, 2014 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Loved the “talking” animals. Ads were very clever and I think something that you’d remember and actually ask your friends about. Like, “hey, have you seen the little dog that gets dumped by his owner? Love it as he gets him back in the end by dumping his wallet all over the road…” People sharing gets the message out. Who wouldn’t want to go and bring this little guy home?

    The new ads just bummed me out. I hate the starkness of the set. I also think the dog especially looks a little frantic. That upsets me and does not give me a very good feeling. Like the Sarah Mclachlan ads for the Humane Society, they just make me want to go and slit my wrists because I’m totally overwhelmed by the time the commercial is over. I want to help them all and know that I can’t. They just make me sob.

    I say keep the humor/happiness and those little endorfins will keep us pumped all the way to the Animal Shelter to adopt a new family member.

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 22, 2014 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      I don’t feel nearly as bad about these ads as I do about the Sarah Mclachlan ones but I am a little sadder than I would want to be. That said, I know people who hated the PSA with the dog that gets dumped because the situation itself is so awful, even though the dog is appealing. So I’m going to have to assume they ran these ads by focus groups that felt differently than we do.

      Thanks for coming by, Lisa.

  8. Posted February 25, 2014 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    In the UK we are bombarded with adverts from charities asking us to give give give and I think, after a while we become a bit de-sensitised to having our heart strings pulled. Maybe they are trying a different approach to judge the response?

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted February 25, 2014 at 5:49 am | Permalink

      That makes sense, Sharon. Thanks for the input!

  9. Posted April 21, 2014 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    i almost every week visit your blog but this time i found really creepy text in the header all focusing on viagra and medicines lie that .. can you check it out whats the prob with your site ?

    • Edie Jarolim
      Posted April 21, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Thanks, I’ll check it out.

  10. Posted April 24, 2014 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    I loved your old campaign as compare to the new one

  11. Jennifer
    Posted September 11, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I very clearly see the (invisible) trainer and the cues required to get these actions from the animals. And the running off-screen was to go get their paycheck (treats!)

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