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News & Insight

“Hey Girl…” #Muttbombing Ryan Gosling & Other Celebs For Animal Welfare

By Kishore Sawh on March 22nd 2014

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The selfie, Instagram, and Photoshop are quite the trifecta of hate targets for a lot of people in our industry and out. The three are often used, and in conjunction, for the purposes of shameless (and false) self promotion, rooted in narcissism, with a dose of voyeurism for good measure. For Internet imaging, however, they are the ‘rice,’ ‘sugar,’ and ‘eggs,’ – staples. Dallas Pets Alive, a young, all-volunteer animal rescue, teamed up with marketing firm Dieste Inc working pro-bono, and showed how the three can be used for good. It’s brilliant! #muttbombing

#Muttbombing is the way. It’s the dog version of photobombing, where a person, or in this case a dog, sneaks into someone else’s photo without them noticing until later. A selfie from Instagram is taken, initially of locals and local celebrities to the Dallas area, and one of the shelter dogs in Photoshopped in, usually humorously, and then reposted online. The Photoshop efforts aren’t entirely amateur either – clearly didn’t source retouchers from Target’s pool. Dieste and Dallas Pets Alive came up with this idea to raise awareness and up adoption rates of shelter pets. And it’s working, exceedingly well.

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Site traffic was up 700% in the first week, as the #muttbombs drew attention from all around the Internet, as viewers took to Twitter and other social media to spread the word, and the joy. Quickly after one shelter pup had #muttbombed a photo Jimmy Fallon, there were requests for his, not Fallon’s, adoption. It’s not just Jimmy though, and it’s not just celebrities. Sure, stars like Miley Cirus, Kim Kardashian, and Ryan Gosling are there and get a lot of attention, but it’s still done to non-celeb folk.

[REWIND: This Week in Photoshop Blunders: Old Navy, The Limited and More…]

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DreamWork Animation studios have also caught on and have helped the program in keeping with the release of their new film “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” and Photoshopped in shelter dogs with the cast. Dallas Pets Alive and Dieste Inc. aren’t really self promoting for any purpose other than the welfare of the shelter animals it seems. While the name has been trademarked, they share the process and advice with all the shelters who call looking for boost their own numbers.

Thoughts

This is a phenomenal idea, and I’m highly impressed with the implementation and execution. I’m a huge advocate of shelters and pet adoption over purchasing, and will rant for ages, if you don’t slap me in time, about why. Yet, even for someone like myself and other animal welfare advocates everywhere, the sites of sickly looking pups online, with some church-hymn soundtrack in the background is tired. This is refreshing, positive and upbeat, and welcome change. It also sends a message to the selfie queens and kings out there – If you add a dog to your selfie, I won’t delete you.

Find out more and follow along with Dallas Alive Pets and their #muttbombing efforts on their Instagram and site.

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. David Liang

    Wow, I really love this idea. Piggybacking a potentially viral or popular photo to spread positive information is just a wonderful method of reaching audiences without annoying them. Amazing!

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  2. Christopher

    Good Find Kish!

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