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, UpForAdoption.ca. “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.