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New ad campaign aims to dispel myths about shelter pets

October 4, 2009 | 12:15 pm

Sure, some people say that Super Bowl ads are the best commercials out there (though PETA might disagree).  But for our money, a new advertising campaign called the Shelter Pet Project gives those high-profile, often-high-concept commercials a run for their money.

The ads -- which were created through a partnership between the Humane Society of the United States, Maddie's Fund and the nonprofit Ad Council -- are designed to dispel common myths about animals in shelters, and Humane Society president and CEO Wayne Pacelle describes them as part of the largest advertising campaign ever launched by the animal protection movement.  "There is a nagging perception on the part of some Americans that there is something wrong or defective with animals in shelters," Pacelle wrote on his blog. "But nothing could be further from the truth. Most of the animals in shelters would make great pets, and they are often well socialized, vaccinated, sterilized, microchipped, and primed for a wonderful new home."

It's easy to say that shelter pets aren't defective at all, but the new ads make the point with humor -- and they're all the better for it.  In one (above), an innocent-looking terrier mix plays against type by calling his owner a "total loser" after being abandoned -- and then makes a mess of the man's dropped wallet.  In the other (which aired for the first time on Animal Planet last week -- if you missed it, you can see it after the jump), a Boston terrier owned by a finance wizard accused of fraud laments that he's about to end up in a shelter because "I like tennis balls; he likes insider trading" before confessing to having once stolen a cheeseburger.

In addition to the television spots, the newly-launched Shelter Pet Project website has a flashy design and offers visitors the opportunity to search for adoptable pets through Petfinder and send e-cards to friends and family reminding them of the importance of adopting.  (You can also connect with the campaign on Facebook and Twitter.) 

-- Lindsay Barnett

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