If you have a pet, you get it. And if you don’t, well, there’s still a good chance you follow some Instafamous dogs (or cats, no judgment) on Instagram. It’s just the world we live in.
Millennials have long been mocked for their obsession with “fur babies,” and a new campaign for VCA, which operates hundreds of animal hospitals across the country, has some fun with this concept. In a three-part video series directed by comedian Whitney Cummings, we see pet owners grapple with the trials and tribulations that come with adopting a four-legged friend in 2019.
The “Pet Friendly” series, which was created by Observatory, is running on Refinery29. The campaign promotes the work that VCA does in partnership with animal shelters and rescue organizations (all dogs and cats featured in the campaign are “played” by rescues).
Perhaps the most entertaining of the three is one featuring a dog mom who stumbles into internet fame one day when she posts a video of her pup, Pepper, sneezing. “Bless You Dog” quickly becomes an Instagram sensation, racking up followers and sponsorship deals by the minute.
But when Pepper runs away after people spot him and try to take his picture, his dog mom finally realizes that it’s all maybe a bit too much for Pepper (with the help of a diagnosis by a VCA vet, of course, who says he’s “exhausted, overwhelmed and stressed out”).
Another film takes a more heartfelt approach, as it tells the story of a single dad who—you guessed it—buys his teenage daughter a dog in an attempt to win her over. While it doesn’t necessarily go well at first, she eventually comes to appreciate his gesture.
The third features a couple who take in a stray cat and attempt to keep tabs on her with a GPS collar that was recommended to them by their vet. When the cat inevitably escapes from their house one day, their tracking app takes them on an adventure around their neighborhood as they try to find her.
“In the case of Pet Friendly, VCA wasn’t looking to grow business or drive revenue,” said Tony Fur, co-chief creative officer at Observatory. “They wanted to build brand affinity by bringing attention to the dedication VCA has for pet-friendly families—and the valued role veterinarians have in the communities they support. We knew that type of deeper, emotional storytelling meant traditional advertising was the wrong medium. Instead, an episodic short-form series allowed us to really explore the universal experiences pet owners have in caring for their pets.”
As for why the branded content series landed on Refinery29, Fur said the agency was looking for distribution partners that “understood the merit of the series and were willing to invest in the future success of the programming.”
Co-Founder: Bob Antin
Co-Founder: Neil Tauber
Co-Founder: Art Antin
VP Social Responsibility and Innovation: Brandon Antin
Director Marketing Operations: Greg Fiore
Brand Marketing Manager: Paige Antin
Consultant: Siena Tauber
Consultant: Elyse Antin
Consultant: Chelsea Antin
Chief Creative Officer: Tony Fur
Creative Director: Joseph Saroufim
Senior Producer: Carly Allen
Senior Art Director: Bianca Pettinicchi
Copywriter: Charlie Long
Designer: Maddie Avjean
Brand Director: Sarah Donze
Senior Brand Executive: Samantha Oto
Production Company: Caviar Content
Director: Whitney Cummings
Editorial Company: Loom
Editorial Company Producer: Terry Huynh
Editor: Jack Price and Daniel Flesher
Music: Kevin Blumenfeld
Sound Mixer / Engineering: Wouter van Herwerden
Audio: Margarita Mix Hollywood