To bring awareness to an important pet issue, animal welfare group Animalife debuted a cinematic tale about a dog and his (human) dad that takes an unexpected turn.
Created out of Havas Portugal, “The Walk” stars an adorable bull mix named Archie, who drags his dozing owner out on a night walk. He excitedly trudges through the entire city, pulling him through empty streets and an abandoned industrial park. They finally arrive at a mountainous forest at daybreak.
What started out as a cute jaunt gets dark really quickly. Archie breaks free and his lethargic owner screams his name—but the dog merely stares back blankly and trots away. After a fruitless search, the dog dad gives up, lies down and curls up into fetal position. Copy on the spot reads, “Don’t be afraid. They would never abandon you.”
Animalife cleverly uses role reversal to call attention to the pet abandonment crisis in Portugal. Every day during the summer months, 120 dogs are abandoned in the country. If other pet animals are included, that number increases to over 30,000 per year.
“The idea came from the simple insight—‘How would it feel to be abandoned by someone we love?'” explained Daniel Jubilot, copywriter at Havas Portugal. “We thought it would be interesting to feel the same way a dog feels when it is abandoned, so we inverted the roles to [let the audience] feel how it would be.”
The agency tapped director Bruno Ferreira and production company Casper Films for the project, pulling in a crew of 20 people and shooting over two days.
The film stars actor Rafael Morais, who has starred in Portuguese Netflix series, and Mythos, a police dog that Jubilot said “does absolutely everything its master tells it to do.” The film was purposefully designed to run over two minutes to help heighten the dramatic tension “as you are stuck to it until the end to discover what’s going to happen,”Jubilot said.
“The Walk” is the third collaboration between Animalife and Havas Portugal. Their previous efforts together included the ad “Karma,” which featured a previously abandoned police dog barking non-stop in the airport at its former owner.
“The Walk” will run on social media, but Animalife and Havas Portugal are also looking into airing it in cinema and on TV.