November 15, 2011

Sharon Fletcher, Director of Marketing & Communications

The Ad Council, in partnership with The Humane Society of the United States and Maddie's Fund, today announced the launch of a second series of public service advertisements (PSAs) for The Shelter Pet Project, a campaign that has helped change the landscape of shelter pet adoption and reduce the euthanasia of shelter pets by 10% since its launch in 2009.

Despite a bleak economy, the percentage of pets in homes that were adopted from animal shelters and rescue groups has risen from 27% to 29% in the last two years, with the number of healthy and treatable pets losing their lives for lack of a home dropping from 3 million to 2.7 million.

Bringing that number all the way to zero is the goal of the campaign, which marks the first time in its history The Ad Council has taken on an animal welfare cause. The Shelter Pet Project is also the first national PSA campaign that brings together the largest animal welfare organizations and shelters across the country to reach that goal.

The new television, radio, print, outdoor and Web ads, created pro bono by Draftfcb, focus on the relationship between shelter pets and their owners by featuring pets observing their human's quirky yet loveable behaviors, concluding with the message that, "A person is the best thing to happen to a shelter pet." All of the ads direct prospective pet owners to a comprehensive website,, where users are able to search for a pet from a local shelter or rescue group, read adoption success stories and learn valuable information about pet adoption.

"Choosing to adopt is game-changing for you and life-saving for an animal," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "Pets end up in shelters through no fault of their own - they are often victims of circumstance. If enough people in our nation choose adoption, we can eliminate the euthanasia of healthy and treatable pets in our country."

"We are expecting our new campaign PSAs to connect with the 17 million people who are going to get a pet this year and convince at least 2.7 million of them to adopt from a shelter or rescue," said Maddie's Fund President Rich Avanzino. "We are hopeful that the new ads will also inspire the 14 million animal lovers who have already adopted to tell their friends why shelters are the first and best places to go for a new four legged family member."

"In just two years, the number of pets euthanized has decreased by 10%, however there are still millions of healthy pets that need a loving home," said Peggy Conlon, President and CEO, The Advertising Council. "This campaign entertains audiences while bringing an important message, the need to adopt pets from shelters, to the forefront."

"We are thrilled to be launching the second phase of an already impactful partnership with the Ad Council and its sponsors," said Nick Paul, EVP, Global Chief Growth Officer, Draftfcb. "This is a tremendous cause and we hope that the energy and positivity behind the new work will reflect the joy that comes from bringing a pet in need into a loving home. We are confident that the optimism of our message will resonate with the millions of potential adopters that are still out there and bring us even closer to our goal."

The Ad Council is distributing the new PSAs to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide this week. Per the Ad Council model, the PSAs will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media.

The Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization - backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty. To learn more about The HSUS, please visit

Maddie's Fund
Maddie's Fund, The Pet Rescue Foundation, is a family foundation funded by Workday and PeopleSoft Founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl. Maddie's Fund is helping to create a no-kill nation where all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats are guaranteed a loving home. Maddie's Fund is named after the family's beloved Miniature Schnauzer.

Draftfcb is the first global, behavior-based, holistic marketing communications organization to operate against a single P&L. In delivering its clients a high Return on IdeasSM, the agency is driven by The 6.5 Seconds That MatterSM, a creative expression recognizing the brief period of time marketers have to capture consumers' attention and motivate them to act. With nearly 140 years of combined expertise, Draftfcb has roots in both consumer advertising and behavioral, data-driven direct marketing and firmly believes there is no way to separate creativity from accountability. Part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE:IPG), the Draftfcb network spans 97 countries with more than 9,600 employees.

The Ad Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization that marshals volunteer talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to deliver critical messages to the American public. The Ad Council has produced, distributed and promoted thousands of public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas of health & safety, community and education.

About Maddie's Fund

Maddie's Fund® is a family foundation established in 1994 by Dave and Cheryl Duffield and is the fulfillment of a promise to their inspirational dog, Maddie. She provided them much joy from 1987 – 1997 and continues to inspire them today.

The Foundation has awarded over $275.7 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, pioneering shelter medicine education and establishing foster care as a standard across the U.S.

Maddie's Fund proudly offers the industry a national voice, important funding opportunities for bold ideas, learning resources and access to collaborate and share innovative solutions. The Foundation invests its resources in a commitment to keeping pets and people together, creating a safety net of care for animals in need and operating within a culture of inclusiveness and humility. #ThanksToMaddie.