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Can Keyboard Cat Help The Shelter Pet Project Ads Go Viral?  

The Shelter Pet Project Ad Campaign Leverages YouTube Stars

You probably know Keyboard Cat, the “globally recognized pianist” with over nine million YouTube views. But did you know that the feline phenom was adopted from an animal shelter in 2010? New ads from The Shelter Pet Project feature animal Internet stars as a way to bring attention to just how special adopted pets can be.


The recently launched campaign also features Hamilton, the “life of the party” pug with 82K+ Instagram followers, and Toast, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy mill rescue and “fashion icon” whose Instagram followers simply adore her eye for style. Each ad includes the #StartAStoryAdopt hashtag, so people can add their own shelter pet story to the mix.


This creative approach differs from “traditional” animal welfare group branding campaigns. How? Rather than going for the guilt with tear-jerking concepts, The Shelter Pet Project’s campaign induces smiles, bringing to mind the silly moments that help make that special bond between pet and owner. The campaign goes further than simply asking for donations: it arms consumers with an online toolkit to amplify their message. Animal lovers can spread the word, thanks to a fact sheet, how-to guide for local media outreach, and sample messaging.

The Shelter Pet Project is a collaborative effort between The Humane Society of the United States, Maddie’s Fund, and The Ad Council. It’s the first animal welfare campaign that the Ad Council has taken on in its 60-year history. Partners include Animal Planet, Petfinder.com and Hallmark Channel.


The Shelter Pet Project’s communications strategy is forward-thinking, uplifting, educational, and social media sharable. It makes me want to adopt a third dog and start another story.


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