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Christopher Guest Channels Best in Show for Brilliantly Bizarre PetSmart Ads


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 GDS&M, hired the writer, actor and filmmaker to direct a set of commercials in his signature mockumentary style, under the tagline "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 Director: Scott Brewer, Ryan Carroll
Associate CD/AD: Ross Aboud
Associate CD/Writer: Kevin Dunleavy
Art Director: Morgan McDonald
Copywriter: Scott Chalkley
Director of Production: Jack Epsteen
Producer: Monique Veillette
Assoc. 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 Retoucher: 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, NY
Editor: Gavin Cutler
Senior Asst. Editor: Ryan Steele
Asst. Editor: Pamela Petruski
Post Producer: Esme Wright
Post EP: Sasha Hirschfeld
Colorist: Fergus McCall, the Mill, NY
VFX/Online: Schmidigital, NY
Flame Artist: Jim Hayhow
Asst. Flame Artist: Joseph Miller
Sound Design & Final Mix: Sam Shaffer, Mackenzie Cutler, NY
Original Music: HUM Music, LA
Graphics: Brad Hodgson, Perfect Form, Austin

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