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Draftfcb Chicago produce an adorable new campaign for the Shelter Pet Project

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Working in partnership with the Ad Council, Maddie's Fund and The Humane Society of the United States, the Chicago branch of global advertising agency network Draftfcb, have recently unveiled a new campaign promoting pet adoption. The pro-bono campaign for the Shelter Pet Project has been dubbed the “Let pets speak for themselves” project, and features a brace of television spots, each of which introduce a different furry companion. Arnie, Kuma and Jules the dogs and Stetson and Maui the cats are real animal adopted from shelter across the United States, who seem to be almost attempting to reach through the screen to implore viewers to come and play with them.

The Shelter Pet Project has been a key facet in driving down the number of animals who lose their lives in shelters

As well as the TV spots, the campaign will also extend to outdoor and web based public service announcements extolling the virtues of pet adoption. There is also a bespoke online experience, created from the ground up by the creative minds at Draftfcb Chicago, which allows the site's viewers to meet and play in a virtual environment with the pet's from the PSAs. The site is also full of heart-melting stories, relating to animals who were adopted from shelters across the country.

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Draftfcb Chicago are no strangers to volunteer work, and have over 140 years of experience in creating ideas that change behaviour and move businesses. For these ads, they took a more playful approach, letting the individual personalities of the animals shine through as they playfully lick, paw and nudge the screen. Draftfcb Executive Creative Director Jon Flannery says that he believes “One of the hardest barriers to overcome in the pet adoption process is actually getting people to the shelters to see the animals.” He believes that these ads and the online experience almost act as a virtual “Interactive, first meeting” between potential pet and potential pet owner. By letting their personalities take over, Flannery believes that “They're pretty much impossible to say 'no' to!”

The online experience acts as a virtual “Interactive, first meeting” between potential pet and potential pet owner

The Shelter Pet project began in 2009, as a platform from which to lift the public perception of both animals shelters and shelter pets. The project has been a key facet in driving down the number of animals who lose their lives in shelters by 12%. It's estimated that around 29% of dogs and 33% of cats in American homes have been adopted from shelters, and around 4 million pets gets adopted every year, but this is simply not enough.

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CEO of the Ad Council, Peggy Conlon, says they are “Proud of the success of the campaign in reducing the stigma and euthanasia rates amongst shelters”, though she is adamant that there is “Still work to be done.” She hopes that this new campaign will “Inspire even more people to head to their local shelters to meet their new companions”.

Prospective owners (based in the United States) who are moved by the ads can visit the official Shelter Pet Project website, where they can search for local shelters by postcode.

Draftfcb Chicago can be reached via their own official website

Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance copywriter from the UK who once rescued a dog from a rescue shelter. That dog lived 10 happy years and is still missed to this day.

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