The popularity of puppies has been a real trend in the pandemic, with people in lockdown turning to pets for companionship at home. However, as the holidays approach, people seeking to buy a puppy should beware, according to a shocking new campaign from the U.K. government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The campaign warns people of the dangers of being "petfished"—that is, deceived by a seller who breeds puppies in poor conditions. Animals bred in low-welfare conditions can often be separated from their mother too early in their development and this can lead to severe health and behavioral problems, resulting in high vet bills.
As part of the campaign, agency 23Red created a video, seen here, that starts off very cutely, with an adorable puppy singing a doggy version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." The lyrics reflect how excited and happy he is to join his new family—that is, until things start to go wrong. The campaign, supported by a range of animal charities and commercial pet brands, provides advice to people on how to research a seller and obtain a pet safely.
"Even in exceptional years like this one, the full-blown production values and blanket media coverage of most Christmas ads means it’s difficult to cut through," says 23Red Creative Director Tris Cavanagh. "We knew we needed to use a small budget to tell a simple story in the most emotionally impactful way possible. So we’ve aimed straight for the heart with a handheld camera, a very cute singing puppy and some great lyrics set to a recognized tune. All in the hope of convincing people to think twice about getting a pet this Christmas."