SPCA, Mini and DraftFCB bring a new meaning to adoption drive

We’ve seen some pretty creative ideas used to increase pet adoptions and gather donations in New Zealand in recent years, with Colenso’s Doggelganger and Donation Glasses standing out in that regard. And now DraftFCB and Mini have joined the furry fray with a so crazy it just might work campaign for the SPCA that will see Porter, a 10 month old Beardie Cross from SPCA Auckland, attempt to drive a car live on TV. 

Mini wanted to
help SPCA Auckland, which cares for over 18,000 Animals each year, change some common misconceptions about rescued dogs. So, in what could be seen as a real life version of a recent Subaru campaign or a canine equivalent of Red Bull Stratos, they
decided, with the help of acclaimed and appropriately named animal trainer Mark Vette and the team for Animals on Q (he’s also responsible for Pookie the pukeko’s impressive perfromances), to
teach three SPCA dogs to drive a Mini Countryman and showcase just how intelligent they are. Because if Kiwis see this level of intelligence, it’s hoped they’ll be more likely to adopt one (earlier this year Los Angeles made headlines when it became the largest US city to ban pet shops from selling dogs, cats and rabbits bought from commercial breeders in the hopes that more rescue animals will be sold). 



“Monty, Porter and Ginny are great dogs each with their own distinct personality,” says Vette. “You wouldn’t believe any dog could learn to drive a car on its own and the way all three SPCA rescued dogs have taken to training really does prove that intelligent creatures adapt to the situation they’re in. It really is remarkable.”

The training has taken place over the past eight weeks, with DraftFCB’s senior motion graphics designer Marco Siray responsible for shooting, directing and most of the editing, and the dogs are set to do their official test drive—and a supposed world first—on Monday 10 December live on Campbell Live (the story about their training aired last night and DraftFCB is holding a “Get your Puppies out” dog day to celebrate the campaign and encourage staff to adopt a rescue dog).

“Driving a car
actively demonstrates to potential rescue dog adopters that you can teach an
old dog new tricks,” says Christine Kalin, SPCA Auckland chief executive. “The dogs have achieved amazing things in eight short weeks
of training, which really shows with the right environment just how much
potential all dogs from the SPCA have as family pets.”

Simonne Mearns, Mini’s brand manager, says the company has a history of supporting SPCA (it also has a history of backing kerrazzee ideas, like the Carmonica) and wanted
to continue that support this year. 

“This is a fun
campaign but we hope it will seriously encourage people to consider SPCA dogs for
pets. We want this campaign to raise SPCA awareness and drive adoptions. The
Mini Countryman has been modified [by Ikon Engineering]to suit operation by paws and will be
reverted and available for sale after the campaign.”

New Zealanders can meet Monty, Porter and
Ginny, watch videos of the training, and find out about their local SPCA
and check out some of the dogs up for adoption on a Facebook app drivingdogs.co.nz

In any given week at SPCA Auckland, there’s anything from 50 to 100 dogs looking for a home, but adopting can also save money, because SPCA adoption fees cover de-sexing, initial vaccinations, worm and flea treatment, micro-chipping and registration fees (if you’re in Auckland).

“Ultimately the
aim is that an SPCA rescue dog will become top of mind and top choice for
people thinking of adopting a pet,” says Kalin. “We’ve seen many people
rewarded by the gratefulness of an SPCA rescue dog after adoption and we hope
all New Zealanders consider the SPCA as an adoption option.”



Regan Grafton – Executive Creative Director

Tony Clewett – Executive Creative Director

Matt Williams – Creative

Peter Vegas – Creative



Esther Watkins – Head of TV

Sarah Yetton – TV Producer

Marco Siraky – Senior Motion Graphics Designer

Blaire Walker – Head of Post Production

Nick McFarlane – Senior Designer



Kevin Aakers – Senior Interactive Producer

Catherine Chi – Interactive Designer


Account Service

Toby Sellers – Group Account Director

Sally Willis – Account Director

Stephanie Huber – Account Manager


Public Relations

Angela Spain – General Manager

Eloise Hay – Account Manager



Rachel Leyland – Media Manager

Rufus Chuter – Communications Planning Director

Simon Teagle – General Manager Media

Sarah McEwen – Media Buyer


Social Media

Harri Owen – Head of Digital and Content

Steph Pearson – Senior Digital Media Planner/Buyer


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