This 90 second advert, titled ‘Unloved’ is emotional, touching, heartfelt, and despite the title promotes love.
The advert follows the everyday life of 3 individuals, a bouncer, referee and a charity representative. After a tough day at work and feeling unloved and unwanted, they return home to their canine companion and all those unhappy feelings are replaced with love and joy. The advert was created by Mayhew Animal Home, whose pet rehoming facilities are often strained by the amount of animals they find unloved, abused and abandoned; emotions that are portrayed in the working day of the human characters.
The aim of the advert was to encourage people to adopt a dog and to inform of the vast and varied benefits owning a pet can bring. The advert shows that it could change not only your life but a dog’s too. The simple set up of the advert, from the brief title, emotional music and few words draws you into the story and makes you feel sympathy and empathy for the characters. The advert features the message ‘Unconditional Love. Adopt a dog’.
Research by Escalas & Stern (2003) found that sympathy responses mediate the effects of a consumer’s level of empathy, which will directly enhance the positive attitudes towards an advert. It was also found that higher empathy was found in consumers who had a preference for dogs and who already owned a pet, which could limit the wider target market (Merrill, 2012).
The message unconditional love, plays on a consumers motivational needs and importantly the need for love and companionship. Humans and animals share the social needs, and this involves expressing love. The advert uses these needs to highlight the truth of what dogs can bring to people’s lives and the emotions a dog can make them feel. The advert also sends a subconscious message against aggression toward dogs through the use of the happy ending (Zillmann, Johnson & Hanrahan, 1973).
‘Unloved’ was aired during the coverage of Cruft’s, so the target audience the campaign is reaching out to are dog lovers, who have an interest in dogs or are thinking of adopting a dog. What makes this advert different? The advert provides a refreshing view of pet adoption, which does not show the animal being abused or dying e.g. RSPCA adverts. Instead, this campaign has taken an upbeat view to encourage people to consider adoption and has allowed people to relate to the dog’s perspective of abuse and neglect through antisocial human interaction. The campaign is changing perceptions to create joy and understanding, rather than sadness and sympathy.
Escalas, J. E., & Stern, B. B. (2003). Sympathy and empathy: Emotional responses to advertising dramas. Journal of Consumer Research, 29(4), 566-578.
Merrill, S. M. (2012). Individual Differences and Pet Ownership Status: Distinguishing Among Different Types of Pet Owners and Non-Owners.
Zillmann, D., Johnson, R. C., & Hanrahan, J. (1973). Pacifying effect of happy ending of communications involving aggression. Psychological Reports, 32(3), 967-970.