Doner Inspires Heavy Petting

Good thing Blockbuster isn’t using an elephant in its new ads.

Chief marketing officer Jim Notarnicola is so enthusiastic about the Dallas company’s new campaign from Doner starring a computer-animated guinea pig and rabbit that he went out and bought real-life versions to keep in a hutch on his desk.

And he takes them seriously. He comes in every morning and discusses business with them. “They don’t like to be referred to as ‘animals’ or ‘pets,’ ” he says. “They prefer ‘actors.’ ”

The first of six spots aired on the Super Bowl; the second breaks today. They star a rabbit named Carl Floppyfeet and a guinea pig named Ray Munchies (voiced by James Woods and Jim Belushi), who live in a pet-shop window and chat about the latest antics at the Blockbuster across the street.

Notarnicola bought the pets last June, well before the campaign broke, and said people in his office thought at first that he’d lost his mind. Given a photo of what the pair would look like, he sent his assistant out to track down the real-life counterparts. It took her an entire day and visits to a dozen pet stores around Dallas to find them.

Kevin Weinman, account management director at Doner, said he is thrilled that his client has embraced the campaign to such an extent. But he’s glad he doesn’t have to clean up after the furry duo.