Anything for Pets is Everything Great: Petsmart’s Musical Approach with Producer Jeff Pangman

Anything for Pets is Everything Great: Petsmart’s Musical Approach with Producer Jeff Pangman

Producer Jeff Pangman

Jeff Pangman admits that he hasn’t been part of creating a musical before now, and certainly not one which features an eclectic array of animals being serenaded. The Canadian line producer does confirm that the eclectic nature of his work in commercial production is what keeps him excited and engaged. Pangman enthusiastically states, “Animals bring a sense of joy and wonder to the set, and their presence can add a special element to the final product. It was also very fulfilling to work with animals in a professional capacity and to know that I was contributing to their well-being and safety. Overall, the experience of working with animals can be unique and memorable, and it can provide a sense of satisfaction that comes from overcoming the challenges of working with non-human talent.” The topic being discussed here is the creation of PetSmart’s recent “Anything for Pets” commercial. A foundational rule (albeit somewhat jokingly) of entertainment is not to work with children or animals as they can upstage even the most sizable talent in addition to being temperamental. In contrast to this idea, Mr. Pangman notes that when dealt with professionally and with consideration, the outcome of this collaboration can produce incredible results. 


  “Anything for Pets” supplies the visual and auditory expression of the internal commitment so many pet lovers feel. Created by the ad agency Deutsch LA, this half-minute long advertisement shows that people of all different walks of life find a unification point in their unflinching devotion to their pets. The types of pets are as varied as the characters we see adoring them in this commercial, indicating that handling so many lifeforms with care and getting performance out of them for camera was a substantial task. Much of the aesthetic style of “Anything for Pets” can be credited to Director Shelley Lewis, known for her meticulous attention to detail and distinctive visual style, which is often characterized by symmetrical compositions, bright colors, and stylized set design. Cinematographer Christophe Collete (known for his work with Grammy/Juno/Brit Award Winning music group Arcade Fire and The Transporter Refueled), captured these endearing moments with emotional potency but it’s worth emphasizing that expert animal trainers of Melissa Millett carved out a space environment for the animal performers to be themselves on camera. From giant Irish Wolfhounds to small purring cats, albino snakes to parrots and everything in between, coordinating this commercial “circus” was daunting even for a seasoned professional like Jeff Pangman. He confesses, “I’m quite an animal lover myself so I was quite excited to work on this and spread the idea of love for one’s pets. Some of the animals were trained but you can’t really train a lizard or a snake, you simply create a non-threatening environment for them and try to make them feel secure and relaxed. We had to have a diverse group of animals and we also had to have backups on set with us of multiple animals in case the hero animals did not perform properly. Filming can be stressful for animals, so it’s important to allow them to take breaks and rest as needed. This can help to prevent the animals from becoming overwhelmed or stressed, which can negatively impact their performance. It was important for me to plan for every possible dangerous scenario for the animals and the actors. While I love animals, I don’t think I fully relaxed until we wrapped.” 

  Those of us who know and appreciate the bond we share with our pets immediately connect with the message of “Anything for Pets.” That’s what the meaning of this ad is about and what advertising in general is about, connection and sharing. 

Writer: Winston Scott

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