These adorable pet adoption posters aren't what they seem

Campaign from Dave Thomas Foundation is looking for a different kind of parent

Published On
Nov 20, 2019

Editor's Pick

Pet adoption campaigns are full of somber shots of big-eyed animals who need a home. Their ubiquity is a testament to their effectiveness, so nothing seemed out of the ordinary to Ontario commuters, who saw a new set of posters featuring dogs, cats and rabbits clutched in the arms of children.

But when prospective pet parents visited the website on those posters, they ended up in a bait-and-switch. McCann Toronto puts viewers face-to-face with kids—not pets—who need a new home, in a campaign for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada, an organization begun by the Wendy’s founder, who was adopted as an infant.

“We’re sorry if you thought we were talking about pets,” says the site, “We had to do something to get your attention because more than 30,000 children are waiting to be adopted from foster care in Canada.”

Donation links fund adoption agencies through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program. Ads will run on TV, digital and social channels and out-of-home placements.

And if anyone really does want to adopt a pet, the Ontario SPCA is in on the gag, too. There’s a link to the shelter program at the bottom of the site.


Nov 20, 2019
Client :
Dave Thomas Foundation
Chief Creative Officer :
Eric Silver
Chief Creative Officer :
Josh Stein
Executive Creative Director :
Nir Refuah
Chief Strategy Officer :
Dustin Rideout
Senior Copywriter :
Peter Sherer
Copywriter :
Heather Bryant
Senior Art Director :
Lise Larson
Art Director :
Maryann Tenaglia
Creative Director Design :
Stephen Tasker
VP Business Lead :
Patrick O’Donovan
Account Supervisor :
Alexandra Lindsay
EP Director of Production :
Jacqueline Bellmore
Senior Producer :
Vanessa Birze
SVP Director of Technology :
Dylan Dempsey
UX Architect :
Julia Cohen
QA Manager :
Rami Aharonov
VP Client Advice and Management :
Ishma Alexander-Huet
Director Communications Design :
Raichelle Ursua
Supervisor Communications Design :
Dave Kutner
Executive Producer :
Tom Nesbitt
Photographer :
Derek Shapton
Digital Tech :
Jeff Jamison
AC :
Keenan Orrange
Casting :
Milo Casting
Mad Cat Wrangling :
Jordan Worrell
Senior Project Manager :
Manny Augusto
Production Artist :
Michelle Kennedy
Graphic Designer :
Peter Rambachan
Graphic Artist :
Pedro Rodrigues
Director Marketing & Communications :
Alison Cross
Assistant Events & Development :
Kylie White

Need a credit fix? Contact the Creativity Editors

Project Type