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Ad of the Week: Petfished

The Government warns against dodgy pet dealers with Catfish inspired ads

ClientDepartment for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

Taking inspiration from the hit TV show Catished, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has enlisted 23red to develop a mini-documentary that raises awareness of bad practices when budding pet owners are shopping for animals.

The play on the MTV series, works in a similar way to show that animals that are sold online might not be what they seem, in much the same way that the series exposes those who are pretending to be someone else on dating sites or social media.

Given the amount of harm that these bad prctices can inflict on unsuspecting owners and the pets themselves, the importance of carrying out prior research before purchasing a pet is central to the campaign that spans PR, social and paid search targeting prospective buyers.

By outlining the ‘warning signs’ that buyers should look out for when searching for their new pet, it is hoped that it will increase the number of people that report unscrupulous sellers to local authorities.

“This new campaign aims to help prospective pet buyers make the best possible choices before welcoming a new dog or cat into their home. We’re seeking to highlight the importance of researching who you are buying or adopting a pet from, to avoid being ‘Petfished’. The campaign encourages everyone to read our tips on how to spot warning signs that an animal has been raised in low welfare conditions by searching ‘Get your pet safely’.”

Charlotte Armitage, DEFRA

The films uses two real-life stories of owners who have been ‘petfished’ and are being interviewed by journalist Leah Green.

Each owner goes into the traumatising experiences that they have of being scammed by pet sellers that they have found locally, seemingly from safe family homes. However, shortly after both pets became ill with one becoming so seriously ill that they had to be put down within a week of starting their new life.

“Sadly, research has shown that one in five vets have reported an animal seller to authorities after treating an illness likely caused by poor breeding conditions. This is a disturbing sign that low-welfare breeders are operating on a much larger scale. We hope this campaign empowers the public to check #Who’sBehindThePet before parting with their money.”

Wendy Mendel, 23red
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