TBWA\Chiat\Day ad campaign taps Lil Bub, cute pet celebrities

With more than 269,000 followers on Instagram, Lil Bub is an Internet sensation.

Now the dwarf cat, rescued two years ago from a tool shed in rural Indiana, is one of four celebrity pets featured in an advertising campaign rolling out Tuesday from TBWA\Chiat\Day for the Best Friends Animal Society.

Lil Bub was the runt of a feral litter, born with several deformities, including bulging green eyes, disportionately small limbs and few teeth, which means her tongue always sticks out.

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The ad campaign is a passion project of Los Angeles’ largest advertising agency and its celebrated creative director, Lee Clow.

TBWA\Chiat\Day staff members volunteered their time to design the pro-bono campaign, which includes a TV public service announcement, in an effort to raise awareness for pet adoptions. The agency donated the work to the Best Friends organization, which has a goal of ending the euthanasia of unwanted animals brought to Los Angeles’ shelters.

The campaign is the latest incarnation of the agency’s volunteer work to help homeless animals.

Last year, the firm launched a stark black-and-white photo campaign when the Best Friends Animal Society unleashed its “No Kill LA” project with various animal shelters in the region. This month, the nonprofit group coordinated a pet adoption event at the La Brea Tar Pits that resulted in homes for roughly 400 cats and dogs.


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In its latest campaign, TBWA\Chiat\Day used photos found on Instagram of four rescued pets -- Lil Bub, plus a feline named Nala Cat and two dogs named Ginny and Tuna.

Owners of the animals on Tuesday plan to blast a short film to their pets’ followers on their Instagram feeds. The theme of the ad campaign is: “You can’t buy a best friend, but you can adopt one.”

Clow, chairman of TBWA\Media Arts Lab, is best known as one of the creative minds behind the landmark 1984 Super Bowl campaign to introduce Apple Inc.'s Macintosh computer as well as the Eveready Battery Co.'s “Energizer Bunny” commercials.


He also is a dog lover and has adopted a number of rescued dogs over the years. Clow, in an interview, said he wanted to put his marketing skills to work to help what he sees as a worthy cause.

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“Wouldn’t it be great if we could get people to see that the smart, cool and socially responsible thing to do is to rescue a pet rather than buy them from a breeder or a pet store?” Clow said.

For the campaign, the agency sought pets with built-in fan communities.


TBWA\Chiat\Day ad executives combed Instragram to find the most popular and photogenic. They used photos that the owners of the four rescued pets had posted to social media.

“It was almost like a casting call for the goofiest faces and the funniest antics, animals that could draw the most attention to what we are trying to do,” Clow said. “These photos give a social context to the animals who need help.”

best known for being one of the creative minds behind the groundbreaking “1984" Super Bowl commercial that introduced the Apple Inc. Macintosh computer - See more at:

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