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The making of the Ad Council/Shelter Pet Project TV spot featuring Natalie Morales

One week after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast, we arrived in a generator-powered Lower Manhattan with what we thought were four pretty big ideas. Well, at least they looked big on four extremely over-sized presentation boards.  

We got everything ready, crossed our fingers and just like that Natalie Morales was there. She’s very, very punctual.

Natalie wanted to collaborate with us, not just pick a TV idea. She wanted to brainstorm, together. On camera. You know how they say there is no such thing as a bad idea? Well, clearly “they” have never conceptualized while being filmed by a large NBC production crew.

We landed on a spot that features Natalie Morales’ dog Zara.  A shelter pet who lets us in on all the things that only she knows about Natalie.

Then as a group, we worked our way through a variety of entertaining and occasionally inappropriate ideas for scenes (personal hygiene habits, moments of flatulation, a possible “Shake Weight” appearance).  Natalie was really funny, and natural. Guess that helps with interviewing strangers on live TV for a living.

We agreed on the scenes. We agreed on the copy. We agreed that it was definitely, probably, possibly going to be awesome. And then as quickly as the meeting had started, it ended.

Fast-forward three weeks. The day of the shoot was upon us. Everything seemed to be perfectly in place except for one unknown variable. Zara. The star of the spot. Zara. An impossibly cute, endearing, and completely untrained for acting, dog.

But you know what? She nailed it. So did Natalie. So did the director, the crew, the client and the agency team. Did I mention our voiceover talent was Jenna Elfman? She nailed it too.

We had an amazing spot, for an amazing cause, thanks to an amazing shelter pet.

See it HERE.