VMLY&R Explores the Trauma of Animal Testing for PETA

By Erik Oster 

The recently assembled VMLY&R launched a new campaign for PETA, examining the trauma of animal testing.

A 90-second spot uses a teddy bear as a stand-in for lab animals. After being accidentally left behind, the teddy bear is taken by a lab researcher and subject to a series of tests before being thrown in a wastebasket.

The use of the teddy bear gets across the message about animal cruelty without making it too hard to watch, simultaneously bypassing social media filters for graphic content. “The Bear” concludes with the line, “A real animal is someone. Not some thing.” to drive home the message. The campaign is intended to raise awareness of the issue as PETA pursues an initiative calling on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to curb its awarding of nearly half of its grants to experiments on animals, which PETA argues are often inapplicable to humans.

“We set out to create a thought-provoking film that would make people pause, question and think instead of feeling judged,” VMLY&R executive creative director Christian Carl said in a statement. “The stuffed bear makes people pay attention and feel something, without shocking them with blood and guts. This inanimate object shows how these animals are treated — as if they are lifeless, unfeeling things.”


“The real-life ordeal that dogs, monkeys, and rats suffer through when cut open, poisoned, or burned and then killed in experiments is too graphic to watch and impossible to get onto social media,” PETA vice president of laboratory investigations Alka Chandna, Ph.D. added. “PETA’s new video allows the viewer to relate to the millions of animals who suffer in laboratories when there are superior, non-animal methods that could be used instead.”

Y&R previously worked with PETA on a campaign claiming “Meat Interrupts Your Sex Life.” More recently, PETA launched an effort with The Community calling on the president to “Grab a Puppy.”

Agency: VMLY&R
North America Chief Creative Officer: Leslie Sims
Executive Creative Director: Christian Carl
Creative Director: Thomas Shim
Executive Producer: Bobby Jacques
Copywriter: Justin Ebert

Production: Ray Production Prague
Producer: Marika Karvankova
Creative supervisor: Dushan Drakalski

Service Production: Push Pull Production
Director: Angel Apostolski
DOP: Nenad Boroevich
Editor: Michael Dervenski
Line producer: Galabena Botova
Sound Design & Music: Kaloyan Dimitrov