New work      03.24.22

These pets aren’t really posing

These pets aren’t really posing

Caught on camera. What REALLY happens at doggie daycare – revealed in our new tell-all PetSuites photo library. (And pet-parents are all Likes and smiles.)

Our photo direction to pet models: You do you. (Think they all got that? Do we ask for a show of paws?) As part of our overall brand-building efforts for the PetSuites franchise, we were tasked with compiling a photo library that would help keep the brand personality consistent across all channels, annnnd eliminate the constant scramble for decent shots.

Since the goal was to authentically portray the PetSuites brand experience in all its authentic-ness (you feelin’ the brief here??), our casting consisted of a combo of PetSuites “regulars” to keep it real – pluuuuus some trained talent in case anyone happened to be in an uncooperative mood. No judgement here. Such is life – canine, feline or human.

To convey the staffers’ deep commitment to delivering top-notch care and gobs of personalized attention (read: shameless pet-spoiling), we took a day-in-the-life-of approach, capturing spontaneous moments as they typically happen in the course of a PetSuites visit. And while we did compile a 37-page pre-pro guide, the reality is, there’s no staging authenticity. It’s something you’ve gotta just snap (and keep snapping) in the moment as you see it. Small dog dive-tackling a bouncy ball? Got it. Contented cat dozing in the corner? Yep. You can practically hear the purr.

No last-minute run-throughs or rehearsed “bits.” No panicked APB for Busy Bee. (Parker Posey fan? Anyone??) Yeah, this was more of a shoot-from-the-hip type shoot. We were going for truth, trying to capture the squeaky clean, pet-proofed playfulness of the place and its wholeheartedly committed, pet-adoring team. And the only way to get that is by blending into the happy chaos, being as invisible as possible. Not creepy like a spycam, but unobtrusive like a Go-Pro. Because the minute you try to stage that real-deal stuff, it starts feeling fakey – fast.

Hanging with a bunch of dogs for the day sounds pretty chill, but was actually kind of a workout. Lots of kneeling, crouching and army crawling for that eye-level angle we were after – and getting sniffed and stepped on a bit more than at a human-shoot.

In addition to showing how they cater to every pet personality, we wanted to convey a sense of the place, so we kept the background in focus in every shot. PetSuites’ inviting (Fame-designed) facilities are bold-purple-and-green vibrant, and loaded with playful graphics throughout. Surfaces are easy to keep clean and, more importantly, totally furry-friend-friendly for climbing, squeaky-toy chasing and just general exploring. Grooming gear is top-notch. And the snooze area is conducive to sweet dreams about Costco-size boxes of treats, mid-air frisbee interceptions, or whatever else pets dream about.

Founded 20 years ago by a couple whose dog (Elvis!) needed special care while they were away for work, PetSuites’ deep love for furry folk has struck a loyalty chord with pet-parents – and word travels fast at pet parks. Their locations have multiplied 20-fold, with many original staffers still onboard – a strong testament to the culture. And their new branding efforts have them well-positioned for delivering vigorous head scratches and quick side pats to thousands more pets nationwide. Elvis would be proud.