American audiences are used to SPCA videos leaning heavily on Sarah McLachlan scores and dogs and cats peering out of cages, but the SPCA in Auckland, New Zealand, has found a viral hit with a lighter approach: teaching three dogs to drive.
SPCA Auckland's "Driving Dogs" comes in at No. 3 on the Viral Chart this week. The campaign -- which includes at least 12 distinct creative pieces -- garnered 5.2 million views for the week.
The effort saw SPCA dogs Porter, Monty and Ginny take driving lessons for eight weeks, training in specially built Mini Cooper Cars under the supervision of trainer Mark Vette and his team at Animals on Q, an animal talent agency whose past work includes films like "The Last Samurai," "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Piano." At the end of the eight weeks both Monty and Porter were tested on live TV, driving on the popular current affairs program "Campbell Live."
"Driving Dogs," which was created by DraftFCB, is partly intended to change the way people think about rescue dogs and showcase their intelligence. "The dogs have achieved amazing things in eight short weeks of training, which really shows with the right environment just how much potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets," SPCA Auckland CEO Christine Kalin told The New Zealand Herald.
But the SPCA also hopes to see an increase in adoptions long-term as well. It remains to be seen whether the buzz will help on that front. Adoption offers have been rolling in for Porter and Monty, the two dogs that appeared on TV, but fewer for the third dog, Ginny, to say nothing of dogs that haven't been taught to drive.