David Blecken
Feb 25, 2016

Is the world big enough for more than one 'Phodographer'?

TOKYO - A role-reversal initiative by Mars Petcare around National Smile Day in Japan has dogs photograph their owners in a studio setup.

Developed by BBDO Japan, the campaign is encapsulated in an online video that has multiple ‘Phodographers’ draw surprise and smiles from their owners by jumping up on a podium and snapping them. The dogs’ photographic efforts are displayed alongside their own portraits.

A press release from BBDO says the film was created “to demonstrate Mars Petcare’s real understanding of the relationship between pets and their owners”. Mars brands include Pedigree, Cesar, Whiskas (Kal Kan in Japan), Sheba and Iams.

While Japan is famed for pampered dogs, Masaki Honda, ECD of BBDO Japan, said in the release that dog ownership is decreasing year-on-year. “We hoped this film can illustrate how having a dog can enrich lives.”

The work is not the first time that a dog has been let loose with a camera on behalf of a brand. Last year, Nikon also introduced a ‘Phodographer’—a sheepdog named Grizzler. The campaign showed Grizzler taking photos of his adventures with a camera apparently activated by the dog’s heartbeat.

The ‘Phodographer’ pun is evidently difficult to resist. Tony Harris, chief executive of BBDO Japan, acknowledged it had been used before but said there was no relation between the two campaigns. We will leave you to judge which of the pooches has the most photographic talent.

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