When in doubt, put an animal in it. Bonus points if it talks or displays other human tendencies. The winners of this year's Animal Spot awards, the world's only ad festival dedicated to commercials featuring animals, know this magic mantra.
The awards are run out of Italy and the 2011 winners will be presented tomorrow at the Museum of Zoology in Rome. Two juries decided on the top animal ads: one is composed of film industry professionals and the other is a popular jury, driven by votes on the website of Italian newspaper La Repubblica.
This year, the award for the Premio Animal Spot went to Goodby, Silverstein & Partner's ad for AIDES featuring Smutley, a promiscuous cat who has nine lives. The message was -- he may have extra lives, but you don't, so practice safe sex.
The first prize for Ethical value, which includes ads with some sort of public service or humanitarian aspect, went to M&C Saatchi Syndey's short film about animal euthanasia for the Sydney Cats & Dogs home.
The Animal Spot association was founded in 1995, appropriately enough, in Rome, the city founded by a pair of twins fed by a wolf and saved by a flock of geese. This year marks the eighth edition of the Animal Spot Festival. Winners will receive silver and steel bowls (used to feed big dogs) and a selection of Italian foods including wine and olive oil.