14 May 2015
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First Days Out: Pedigree marks its territory with stunning film

Pedigree has created a heart-warming film about redemption, acceptance, and the power of friendship. 

The 'First Days Out' film tells the story of two prisoners who, on their release from jail, adopt a pet dog, which helps them transition back into normal life and society.

The beautiful documentary film is a superb piece of branded entertainment which also champions a key Pedigree brand platform, the dog adoption program.

The film was created by Almap BBDO in Brazil and forms part of a major global marketing push by Pedigree and BBDO called ‘Feed the Good’.

Pedigree’s parent company Mars said ‘Feed the Good’, which is the first global campaign in years, is based on the universal insight that dogs bring out the best in people, “as their innocence helps us reconnect with our own”.

Leonid Sudakov, Chief Marketing Officer, Global Petcare, Mars, Inc, said in a statement: "Studies attest how the companionship of animals transforms and improves people's lives. By nourishing the lovable innocence in every dog, Pedigree helps feed the good they bring to the world."

The film draws heart-wrenching parallels between the prisoners and the dogs, who both escape from behind bars to experience freedom. The men tell the story of the transition from jail back into society where they have no friends or family and so the relationship and companionship of their dogs are the centers of their lives.

Directed by Hungry Man’s Ricardo Mehedeff with producer Alex Mehedeff, the film is a touching and surprising piece of storytelling that provides a rare insight into a world - and an experience - that many do not think about. 

'First Days Out' is rich with redemption and demonstrates the extraordinary power and strength that comes from owning a dog. This film is guaranteed to connect with anyone who ever had a dog, or a pet, it speaks to the power of that connection.

It is a beautifully made documentary-style film that is rich in storytelling and emotion, it also artfully brings to life a very simple strategy which is to remind people how great it is to own and love a dog.

Not many brands would embrace an association with ex-criminals, so Pedigree have shown bravery and leadership in choosing these stories and they should be rewarded for it. It’s hard to imagine this idea getting off the ground in Pedigree’s other lead markets such as the US, Australia or New Zealand.

These markets have instead gone for more expected TV ads – although New Zealand’s ad by Colenso BBDO is surprisingly emotive and very successful – as well the full integrated suite of print, outdoor, online, etc.

By focusing on the emotion of a person’s relationship with dogs this film goes from what could have been a cheesy idea in the wrong hands to an intense and intimate film.

As the film’s producer Alex Mehedeff told AdWeek: “Advertising is moving into this new territory of content storytelling. A more emotional engagement. With this in mind, we need to approach the narrative of the film differently. The creative [idea] behind this film is just brilliant. That moved us in a big way to get involved and tell a moving story.

"Anytime you move away from the "typical" creatively—and hats off to the agency for this brilliant idea—it becomes a golden strategy. We're happy to have been able to deliver up to par with the idea. We hope it will move people, engage emotionally with the audience … and place the brand in a very special place.”

Pedigree is the world’s largest dog food brand and it’s positioning is to make the world a better place for dogs. Clearly this campaign aims to reinforce that positioning and cement the brand’s position as THE brand for dogs and for dog lovers and tap into a positive association around loving and caring for dogs.

An interesting and quite alarming side note: Pedigree is the world’s sixth largest food brand – which suggests this positioning is working.  

The element of surprise and the rich, personal and intense stories make this film a standout and position the global campaign in a new powerful territory.


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