Holding out for a hero

Every year, thousands upon thousands of abandoned or homeless animals are rescued by non-profit shelters, resulting in over-crowded and under-funded organisations.

These shelters rely on the public to fund the countless hungry mouths within their walls as well as to provide good homes for the dogs and cats that find themselves in this situation.

Rather than be overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation, Ban Animal Trading (BAT) spotted an opportunity to inspire the public to make a real difference. This prompted both a goal and a campaign.

A Beauty Without Cruelty initiative, BAT spokesman Smaragda Louw says: “We wanted to inspire the public to adopt animals from shelters rather than buying from breeders or petshops. 

Emmaneel Van der Merwe, Executive Creative Director of design agency New Found Form, conceptualized the campaign:

“In the eyes of both the shelter animals and the shelter owners, people become heroes when they adopt an animal.”

Wim Steytler, our film director, suggested that our television ad reveals the dog owners’ heroic status by showing their golden capes in reflections, silhouettes and from the dog's point of view.

 “The unbreakable bond shown between the adopted dog and its owner will hopefully inspire the audience to adopt an animal and become a hero.”

Given that BAT did not have the funding for a campaign of this magnitude, various industry players were approached with the idea and the response was overwhelming.

The campaign message "Heroes adopt animals from shelters" was matched by the generosity of everyone who gave freely of their time and expertise.

Production house Picture Tree volunteered to create the ad on a pro bono basis and brought its expertise to the execution under the watchful eye of acclaimed film director Wim Steytler, resulting in a highly emotive, engaging ad. 

Post-production house Mushroom Media ensured that the final product was top quality and the stills images for the print campaign were taken by award-winning photographer Nick Van Renen.

DSTV and Primedia Outdoor provided free airtime and space for the campaign to reach viewers.


Ban Animal Trading, a Beauty Without Cruelty initiative, was established to alert potential pet owners specifically about the cruelty of the pet trade, informing them about where these animals originate and what eventually becomes of them. This obviously links to the familiar “backyard breeder”/ “puppy mill” / “large producer” source of animals.

Follow them on Twitter: @BAT_BWC

or Facebook: Ban Animal Trading South Africa

Our heartfelt thanks to:

  • Picture Tree
  • Crew Agent: KrewKut
  • Crew Agent: Call a Crew
  • Nirox Sculpture Park
  • Famous Frock
  • Volunteers Carmen Bekker, Michael Van den Berg and Lucky Chaba.
  • Mushroom Media
  • New Found Form
  • Nick Van Renen Photography
  • iSketch Design


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