Animal Ads I Adore

Today I want to talk about two ads that are currently running that I adore. Oddly enough, they both have animals in them. I know the running joke that puppies and babies are thrown into every ad for that extra cuteness factor, but these are legitimately good ads, doe-eyed animals or not.

First up, I want to talk about the Dawn ad that has gotten so much positive attention, and for good reason. It is a brilliant (if not eerily prophetic) spot focusing on the work Dawn does with animals in oil spills. According to Brandweek, it aired only 13 before the BP spill.

Not only does the spot pull on the heartstrings, but it’s wonderfully reinforced by the Dawn’s current packaging, which makes for a memorable and effective campaign. I’ll admit, I consider Dawn a lovemark, so it doesn’t take much for me to admire the brand. Not only does their involvement in animal rescue showcase their global responsibility, it drives home a brand attribute- if it can slick oil off of suffering animals, it can surely clean the oil and grime off of your pots and pans.

Other branding magazines/websites have talked warmly about this spot, but have failed to mention what I find to be the key element of the ad- the music. Joe Purdy’s “Wash Away” makes the entire ad in my opinion. It reminds me of what Nick Drake did for that Volkeswagon ad.

Or what Nick Drake does for any ad—I’m looking at you, AT&T.

Yes, it’s blasphemy to exploit the emotional power of these gorgeous songs (and taint them by associating them with consumerism), but in terms of branding, and especially in terms of this Dawn ad, it really, really works.

Next animal ad is one that I desperately wish I wrote. It’s Pedigree’s “Heroes” spot created by TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, Los Angeles.

I think it’s beautiful from the opening line,

Shelter dogs aren’t broken, they’ve simply experienced more life. If they were human, we’d call them wise.

to its simple but poignant close,

Do not pity a shelter dog. Adopt one.

It’s spots like these that make me want to be a copywriter. Not to mention how it’s been incorporated on Pedigree’s website, this time sans voice-over, images and words left to themselves. Still beautiful. Still moving.

It’s spots like these that allow me to call advertising art and still keep a straight face.

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