Hallmark Channel's Kitten Bowl II
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Cutting through pet politics with a mega #Kitten Bowl commercial

Hallmark Channel's Kitten Bowl II
Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl II

For Joey Herrick, co-founder and former president of Natural Balance Pet Foods, and host of ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ television show, has a new mission – cutting through the politics of pets and sheltering to reduce the number of pets euthanized in shelters.

What better way to do that than capture people waiting for the ‘big game’ on Super Bowl XLIX Sunday, and be in front of millions in #DogsVsCats, a commercial of Super Bowl quality airing on the Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl II, at noon ET, Feb. 1.

Hallmark Channel's Cat Center

The Lucy Pet Foundation, started in late 2013, has a very serious message. And as a successful marketer, Herrick has plans to raise not just money, but awareness to seriously make a difference. As co-founder and president of Natural Balance Pet Foods, he had an avenue to give tons of pet food to shelters.

No longer in that role, he wants to take the mission further. In a recent interview with Paws for Reflection, Herrick talks about how bad the feral cat problem is in just Los Angeles. ‘There are 3 million free roaming cats in the city. They are everywhere.’

Check out this teaser of Lucy Pet Foundation’s #DogsVsCats football game It’s being touted as the coolest, most technologically advanced, and most societal-important commercial ever.

Kitten Bowl II Lucy Pet Foundation Commercial Teaser

When they go the shelter, they don’t have a chance. Herrick wants to see the end of the gas chamber system. Thirty-one states still allow pets to be thrown into a box and gassed to death.

Every week, about 80,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in shelters across the United States. Much of this is caused because of pet overpopulation. Effective spay/neuter programs could help reduce these numbers substantially. In five years, Herrick hopes to offer no cost or low-cost mobile spay and neuter clinics in every state across the country.

Stopping pet overpopulation is the only way to stop the mushrooming numbers. And those numbers need to be reduced to cut down on the pets euthanized.

But it’s not the only issue that needs to be addressed. Herrick says the sheltering system needs to be revamped. More money needs to go directly to helping the animals, and less to administrative salaries.

If we work together, we can have better buying power and better tools to help the pets. ‘We all need to work together.’

When asked about the politics that divide animal rescue, Herrick responded it’s one of the reasons a legislative component is included in The Lucy Foundation’s work.

The Lucy Pet Foundation is addressing the problem with a multi-faceted campaign:

• Offer no cost or low-cost mobile spay and neuter clinics across the U.S.
• Making the American public fully aware of the problem
• Education about pets to the kids
• Education to their parents about the health benefits of spay and neuter
• Grooming and training of adoptable shelter animals
• Legislation on relevant pet issues (including banning shelter gas chambers)

This is no easy task. Herrick says, ‘It’s a 6-day-a-week job.’

It’s not all about politics. It’s also about changing the paradigm of how things are done. Spending an extra half hour with an aggressive dog could make the difference between life and death. It could be they would be a very good pet.

This job is taking on a flurry of activity. In 2013, The Lucy Pet Foundation kicked off the New Year with a float in the Rose Bowl Parade. That was a huge captive audience.

Another captive audience will be present on Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, Feb. 1, as the Lucy Pet Foundation has a power packed commercial #DogsVsCats with a whole lot of punch.

Herrick has been working with Director Sam Nicholson, highly acclaimed, visual effects genius for Heros, The Walking Dead, and Star Trek 1 to create a $1 million commercial for about 10 percent of the cost. That commercial has taken over 2500 man hours to produce. Using cutting edge CGI technology, photographing most of the animals in front of a green screen to eliminate distractions – Nicholson combined computer-generated images with live-action video and as many as 80,000 images of pets placed one by one into a football stadium.

Commercials and the SuperBowl go hand in hand. Their multi-million productions( $4.5 milllion for 30 seconds in 2015) get almost, if not more, press than the football championship. But they may want to step aside as #DogsVsCats may well be the hottest contender for the Best Bowl Commercial for 2015.

Paws for Reflection did not enter the contest involved in promoting The Lucy Foundation’s #DogsVsCats Commercial, but we do think this is a tremendous opportunity to spread the word and educate the public on the importance of spay/neuter. The one thing you should give to your pet is spay/neuter, over and above anything else, even love and affection. Paws invites you to weigh in on this discussion and share your thoughts. And check back later this week, as Paws for Reflection will have the link to the entire commercial.

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