Rover features annoyed pet-sitters in confessional ‘Cone of Secrecy’ ads

Little Hands of Stone’s campaign focuses on the pet-sitting service’s chief rivals

Published On
Mar 12, 2024
A beloved son sits for an interview with a pet care cone on his head

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Pets are a responsibility only a pawrent can bear. As a dog mom and an animal lover myself, I can attest: Even though our fur babies aren’t actual babies, we love them just the same and will put up with a lot for them.

But even pawrents need a break, and asking friends and family to help isn’t always the best decision for personal, human relationships. That’s the revelation made in pet-sitting marketplace Rover’s latest, humorous campaign launched on Tuesday, which homes in on the issue with anonymous, “60 Minutes” style interviews.

“Cone of Secrecy,” created by agency Little Hands of Stone, dives into the thorny issue of how friends and family actually feel about looking after someone’s else pet as a favor through one hero video and three shorter broadcast spots that resemble sit-down interviews. 

In the two-minute hero video, real people wear a pet-care cone to hide their identities as they describe their most exasperating experiences pet-sitting for a loved one. Among the most trying experiences, the anonymous sitters describe dogs pooping on pillows, pets yapping and screaming at all hours, and angry landlord complaints. 

 

The individuals have only a vague nametag on their lapels, including “Beloved Son” or “Co-Worker,” as they speak.

“You should really pay someone to watch your pet,” one person says, while others say they feel used or taken advantage of when asked to pet-sit as a favor. 

The campaign is a direct response to one of Rover’s core business challenges, which is that its main competitors are pet owners’ friends and family, said Megan Teepe, SVP of global growth at Rover.

“We know that before pet parents discover Rover, they often turn to friends, family and neighbors to care for their beloved cats and dogs when they leave town. While this may be convenient for pet parents, the reality is that our friends and family often aren’t the best pet care fit. They might not be ready for all that comes with taking care of someone else’s pet, or even want the role,” she said. “The ‘Cone of Secrecy’ gave us a fun way to let these people get some things off their chest from a place of love.”

 
 
 

The campaign, which is Little Hands of Stone’s third with Rover, is a departure from the brand’s previous heartfelt work such as “To My Hooman,” which used doodle animation to describe hiring a sitter from Rover from the perspective of a pet. 

But humor “lent itself to a bit darker, grittier comedy,” said Matt McCain, agency co-founder. “One participant was legitimately concerned about her identity being revealed. She wouldn’t even mention the breed of the pet she was taking care of. That validated our key strategic insight: friends, family and neighbors often get into pet-sitting situations and have no idea how to escape them.”

The goal, therefore, is that through bringing attention to the issue, pet parents can be more sensitive to their loved ones and turn to Rover for help instead. 

Credits

Date
Mar 12, 2024
Client :
Rover
Agency :
Little Hands of Stone
Senior Director of Brand Marketing :
Kate Jaffe
Head of Growth :
Tom Sullivan
Head of Creative :
Stacy Mangum
Senior Growth Marketing :
Jaimee LaTorra
Senior Creative Program Manager :
Annie Richards
Video Marketing Manager :
McKinley Lovett
Creative Director :
Michael Boychuk
Creative Director :
Matt McCain
Account Supervisor :
Brooke Braafladt
Head of Creative Operations :
Tiffany Stone
Production Company :
Little Hands of Stone
Director :
Michael Boychuk
Director :
Matt McCain
EP :
Gabe Hajiani
DP :
Mather McKallor
Editor :
Mather McKallor
Music Composition :
Rob Scherzer
Craft Service :
Mr. Block Crafty

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