Christopher Guest Channels Best in Show for Brilliantly Bizarre PetSmart Ads

Anna Faris, Jennifer Coolidge star

If you were a fan of Christopher Guest's classic movie Best in Show, PetSmart has the perfect campaign for you.

The brand, with agency GSD&M, hired the writer, actor and filmmaker to direct a set of commercials in his signature mockumentary style, under the slogan "Partners in Pethood." The results are, unsurprisingly, great. 

Like the movie, which Guest co-wrote and directed, the campaign features a parade of awkward, pet-obsessed nutjobs—including two played by Anna Faris and Jennifer Coolidge—who deliver their various quirks in perfect deadpan.

Faris plays a ditzy, catty dog owner throwing a birthday party for her terrier. In a second ad, Coolidge, a veteran Guest talent, nails the overbearing mother-in-law act in the campaign's best, and riskiest, clip—the interplay with her character's son is pretty spectacular.

Both ads broke during the Oscars on Sunday night—in 30-second versions—and three more spots are worth watching for more ridiculous, doting pet lovers.

There are even some good extra tidbits in the behind-the-scenes video, which goes out of its way to strengthen the somewhat odd "Pethood" positioning.

"When I hear the term 'Pethood,' it makes me want to give my child up—I have a human child—and just be the mommy to a bunch of animal," says Faris. Adds Coolidge, "I never really liked my children, but I sure love my animals."

In other words, it's a wonky portmanteau, but pokes fun at its target consumers in just the right spirit. And while Big Lots took a swing at treating pets like people in its focus-group themed spots last fall, the talent, pacing and heritage here blow any competition out of the water.


Client: PetSmart

Title: "PetSmart: Partners in Pethood"

Agency: GSD&M

Chief Creative Officer: Jay Russell

Group Creative Directors: Scott Brewer, Ryan Carroll

Associate Creative Director, Art Director: Ross Aboud

Associate Creative Director, Copywriter: Kevin Dunleavy

Art Director: Morgan McDonald

Copywriter: Scott Chalkley

Director of Production: Jack Epsteen

Producer: Monique Veillette

Associate Producer: Adriane Weast

Business Affairs: Mellissa Mathias

Account Leadership: Scott Moore, Sabia Siddiqi, Brittany Hammer, Lauren Bradshaw

Project Management: Sara Rosales

Experience and Insights: Andrew Teagle, Rene Huey-Lipton

Print Production: Ellen Hanrahan

Art Production: Jessica Spruill

Print Campaign Photographer: David Emmite

Print Retouchers: Jeremy Kelty, Lilli Salerno

Digital Production: Amy Torres

Web Developer: Todd Black

Studio Services: Michele Head, Summer Ortiz

Production Company: Go Film

Director: Christopher Guest

Executive Producer: Gary Rose

Producer: Mark Hyatt

Editorial Company: Mackenzie Cutler

Editor: Gavin Cutler

Senior Assistant Editor: Ryan Steele

Assistant Editor: Pamela Petruski

Post Producer: Esme Wright

Post Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld

Colorist: Fergus McCall, The Mill

Visual Effects, Online: Schmidigital

Flame Artist: Jim Hayhow

Assistant Flame Artist: Joseph Miller

Sound Design, Final Mix: Sam Shaffer, Mackenzie Cutler

Original Music: HUM Music

Graphics: Brad Hodgson, Perfect Form

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.