A Major Dog Brand Just Ditched Dog Models and Photographed Shelter Pups Instead

A Major Dog Brand Just Ditched Dog Models and Photographed Shelter Pups Instead

It’s marketing (bark-eting?) with a message.

By Kristyn Pomranz

Dog brand BARK—those beloved arbiters of the BarkBox—know a thing or two about making dogs happy. (You may recall our article about the Barkshop Destroyers Club, which features cheeky toys that are meant to be joyfully torn to shreds.) But recently, they decided to bring their happymaking out of their shop and into the shelter.

BARK has a new line of toys called Lights Camera Bark. Featuring plush stars, crowns, and word bubbles (among other things) the collection is meant to create photo-ready opportunities with every chew. But instead of using perfect-looking dog models for the photoshoot, BARK teamed up with local shelters across the country to photograph the toys with dogs in need of adoption.

Unleashed spoke with BARK’s marketing manager, Emma Weeks, about the project.

What inspired this project? 

We’ve found through years of working with rescues and shelters that having a great photograph of a dog can make all the difference in helping pups find their forever home. More often than not, a person's first interaction with an adoptable dog is a picture on social media or on the shelters/rescues website. The launch of our Lights Camera Bark product line, which are dog toys that double as photo props, proved to be the perfect way to bring together a few things we love here at BARK: making dogs happy, helping them find homes, and breaking the internet with adorable dog photos. We realized that the product line could do a lot of good for adoptable dogs who are always in need of more toys to play with, and are just one good photo away from finding a home.

How did you select the shelters / shelter dogs featured?

BARK has worked with thousands of shelters and rescues across the country. For this effort, we decided to work with a handful of organizations that we have worked closely with in the past and are true champions the animal welfare space.

Many of the dogs have already been adopted—was that a result of this campaign?

We held the photoshoots in each market at the end of June. The dogs featured that have found homes were adopted through the efforts of their rescue or shelter. It's our hope that the photos will help the dogs still looking for a home find one faster.

Do you plan to use more shelter dog models in the future?

Definitely, BARK is always looking to find creative ways to help dogs find homes, and we frequently work with shelters.

Any funny/cute stories from the photo shoot?

Myrtle, from Best Friends Animal Society in NYC, had the best time during the shoot; she couldn't get enough of the toys and was rolling around and tossing them up into the air. She's such a sweet girl and had quite a big day before coming over to BARK for her photoshoot. Actor Justin Theroux dropped by the Best Friends Adoption Center to visit with their adoptable dogs. He spent time playing with Myrtle and also generously paid for Myrtle's adoption fee!

Does BARK have any other charitable efforts coming up?

We’re always working on new ways to help shelters and rescues. Follow us on social media @Barkshop and @BarkBox or sign up for our newsletters to stay up-to-date. 

You can see all of the pup portraits in Barkshop's Lights Camera Action collection. And be sure to follow the rescues that took part in the photoshoot:

Best Friends Animal Society in New York, NY

One Tail at a Time in Chicago, IL

A Purposeful Rescue in Los Angeles, CA

Dallas DogRRR in Dallas, TX

PetPromise, I Have a Dream Rescue Organization, RescuedOhio, and Buckeye Bulldog Rescue in Ohio

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