Automobile dealers like to say, “The feel of the wheel seals the deal.”

For Empire Communications Group, however, the slogan could very well be, “The feel of the hug gives the heartstrings a tug.”

Empire in Jacksonville, Fla., uses the venerable test-drive pitch to encourage people to visit an unexpected “dealership”—the Jacksonville Humane Society.

The new campaign is designed to increase adoptions of homeless animals.

The “Come in for a test hug” regional campaign broke with the first of three 30-second television spots last month. Print and outdoor support the TV.

The first spot depictsa drape over what appears to be a car. “The new models are in; great design, dependable, you’ll love it,” states the copy moving across the screen. The cover is then removed to reveal a dog.

Two upcoming spots will show close-ups of a variety of animals.

“We believe that once we get people in to see the animals, they’ll fall in love and will want to adopt one,” said Fred Page, Empire’s director of strategy.