What's just as important to advertisers as the Super Bowl? The Puppy Bowl, of course.
The Animal Planet event has now run for 11 "seasons," and this year's sponsors include Bissell, Geico, Dairy Queen, Disney's Zootopia, Hershey, Pedigree, Sheba, Subaru and The Secret Life of Pets.
All of these brands want to make the most of their furry opportunity, and Bissell tapped Olson in Minneapolis (the same agency behind the recent Marhsawn Lynch Skittles home shopping stunt) to make canine magic happen.
At 3 p.m. on Feb. 7, the company will do just that ... with some help from a tower of champagne glasses filled with gravy, an oversized sloppy joe with a 24-inch bun, a four-tier red velvet cake frosted with mashed potatoes and a whole bunch of spaghetti and meatballs.
What could possibly improve that combination? Toilet paper from heaven, thrown in just for fun. Here's the 30-second promo clip, which debuted this week:
"The Puppy Bowl is a national treasure at this point, but the client wanted to have a big, exciting second screen expansion to help it reach its donation goals," Olson group creative director Matt Pruett tells AdFreak. Bissell aims to raise $100,000 for its Pet Foundation, which helps place rescue animals in new homes.
Here's the deal: After the puppies are "released" and the event begins on PetHappens.com, Bissell will respond to viewers using the hashtag #PetHappens in social media by releasing more "people food" into what was once a perfectly white room. Then staffers will use the brand's own products to return the space to its pristine state once the damage has been done.
Long after the last scrap of meat has been sprayed and wiped away, any post that bears the hashtag will trigger a $5 donation to the Pet Foundation. (The campaign officially ends March 31.) To create the teaser, Olson's team turned the six rescue puppies loose in a controlled environment and gradually added more treats to the mix while filming the inevitable mayhem.
"We had a side-plate of spaghetti, which we hit with five gallons of sauce that we literally just poured in through a tube in the wall," says Pruett. He's confident the campaign will be a success and, more important, that everyone had a good time at the shoot. "Because these are puppies, they're going to tell other dogs about it for the rest of their lives," he says.
A representative from the American Humane Association was on hand to make sure the event was compliant with relevant regulations—and all evidence suggests the puppies involved were, in fact, good boys and girls.