pets are not products campaign
Last month the sweet ladies from Paws for Hope contacted me about creating some graphics for their holiday campaign. Paws for Hope is a Vancouver-based charity established in 2011, who realized the provincial animal support system was broken and in a state of crisis. They stepped up by filling the gaps with their own direct animal assistance, educational programs and campaigns.
Their campaign “pets are not products” is all about creating awareness about the misery of pet store animals, especially around the holiday season, when cute fluffy pets are happily gifted. The sad fact is that the vast majority of puppies, kittens and bunnies which are sold in pet stores are bred in commercial mills under horrific conditions. Furthermore, most of them suffer from serious diseases, genetic defects and hereditary disorders, which in turn means you dropping thousands of dollars at the vet.
Way to crush the holiday spirit, right?
It’s sad but so important to make people aware of. As depressing as the topic may be I was very excited to work on this. I feel so much more inspired working for an important cause, something that actually matters or will hopefully help make a difference, as opposed creating marketing materials for some corporation, aka straight to CEO’s pocket. The campaign has a very strong concept which was quite easily translatable into visuals. I choose to take “pets are not products” literal and illustrated the animals on a store shelf. To emphasize the whole idea of “product” each pet also received a bar code.
It was a really nice change to get off the computer for a bit and hand sketch these furry friends before digitizing them. By no means am I an illustrator, but I do enjoy creating illustrations. These guys are very much along my personal style, kinda cartoon-ish and fun. If you think about the campaign this doesn’t fit in at all. My challenge was to make the pets look cute, in order to get your attention. However once you look at it in more detailed you realize they are all actually pretty miserable. The melancholic blue and grey colour scheme also helped convey this sadness. The animal-welfare industry is over-saturated with aggressive and sad imagery. It was important for me to still convey the message, but in a more “subtle and friendly” way.
No matter how cute they may look, please avoid going to pet stores and help spread the word.