A Scrappy Shelter Dog in Need of Adoption Gets to Have a Blast in This Camera Ad

Canon's campaign spotlights causes

Headshot of Christine Birkner

About 3,300 shelter dogs are euthanized every day in the U.S., and shelter dog adoption ads often depict them as sad, helpless creatures (think Sarah McLachlan's tearjerkers for the ASPCA, which show miserable dogs staring forlornly through the bars of cages). But animal activist and photographer Guinnevere Shuster is on a mission to change that, helping shelter dogs find homes by taking fun, happy portraits showing them in their best light.

Shuster is the latest philanthropist featured in Canon's "Rebel With a Cause" campaign, named for Canon's Rebel camera, that started last year and spotlights various causes. The new video features Shuster's photo shoot with a shelter dog named Willa, who gets to play with bubbles, gobble steak, chew on high-heeled shoes and drink water from a golden toilet. Canon featured the photos and video from that day on its social media channels to help Willa and other shelter dogs find homes.

The dual goal of the ad is to raise awareness about shelter dog adoption and help people take better photos of their pets, one of the most popular subjects for amateur photographers.

The "Rebel With a Cause" campaign has also included daredevil Nik Wallenda, who helped people achieve bucket-list dreams; musician Swizz Beatz, who helped bring attention to undiscovered artists; and YouTube star Anna Akana, who started an anti-bullying campaign.

"We wanted to do a better job of connecting with our younger customers," said Rob Altman, senior manager of marketing at Canon. "We know how passionate they are about causes and how they hold companies who are supporting causes in a positive light. The Rebel brand has been around for 25 years, and our previous promotional efforts have been about the performance of the camera. … It's great that we can bring attention to causes that people care about."

@ChristineBirkne christine.birkner@adweek.com Christine Birkner is a Chicago-based freelance writer who covers marketing and advertising.