What holiday dinner would be complete without the texting teenager, the drunk uncle, the eccentric aunt, the hideous Christmas sweaters and the new girlfriend as an awkward plus one?
Now what if these guests were all animals? Not just poorly mannered, mind you, but actual furry, four-legged creatures.
Freshpet, a natural pet food company, launched a short video this week with just such a setup. Thirteen dogs and one cat took their places at an elaborate seasonal feast for an ad that’s racked up 170,000 views on YouTube in less than two days.
Since videos of dogs eating with human hands have become Internet sensations, the brand and video producers, shareability, decided to double down on the concept. They used mostly shelter animals for the shoot, and hired trainers and wranglers to serve as their expressive paws.
Other props like bow ties, eyeglasses and jewelry give the animals more realistic and often ridiculous human qualities.
While there’s plenty of eating, or, rather, shoveling it in, there are also some real lapses in etiquette from the diners, like the terrier that busts out a flask and the hound that eats off someone else’s plate. At least a few of those faux pas were scripted. Dogs will be dogs, after all. The scowling cat at the head of the table, meanwhile, is not amused.
Freshpet, a refrigerated pet food distributed in about 11,000 retailers, has been using digital campaigns and short-form videos to boost its awareness with animal lovers. A few months ago, Freshpet landed the Apparently Kid (Noah Ritter) for his first-ever ad, a video that’s snagged more than 3.5 million views on YouTube.
For the holiday work, shareability wanted to stay on the fringe of traditional advertising.
“This is an example of a smart brand that gets it and is willing to take a risk,” said Nick Reed, shareability co-founder. “The point is to build goodwill for the brand and let you as a viewer just enjoy the experience. It doesn’t make a big deal about selling.”
The video, shot with help from the Humane Society of Utah, is part of Freshpet’s Giving Paws effort to collect supplies and donations for several animal shelters. The company also will cover the fee for people willing to adopt the shelter animals in the video (food and treats are included).
Though the finished video looks civilized enough – unless you count texting during the meal or swiping the silverware – having that many dogs on set at once was challenging.
“That saying about not working with kids or dogs? We’ve done both now for Freshpet,” said Cameron Manwaring, shareability co-founder. “We were nervous going into it, and it was so chaotic, but everyone was so well behaved. No fights.”
And no leftovers.
Tags: ADVERTISING, BUSINESS, FRESHPET