Mondou gets its pick of the litter

It’s not possible to smell a TV spot, but lg2 might have come close to achieving that feat with its latest work for the Quebec pet supplies company Mondou.

As anyone who’s ever owned a cat or visited the home of someone who does can attest, the smell of a litter box can be pervasive, so much so that an owner might be oblivious to its presence. That’s the basis of “When it smells, everything smells,” an icky new ad for Mondou’s exclusive kitty litter brand O’select, which carries a 50-day odour-free guarantee.

“We really do like the insight because it’s so universal,” said lg2 partner, creative director Geneviève Langlois. “If you have a cat, or know someone who does, you know that it can really stink. We’ve all at some point visited a house and known as soon as you set foot inside that a cat is living there, even if you can’t see it.”

The spot shows a man casually going about his daily routine, except that poop-filled cat litter is everywhere. It’s sitting atop the items in his clothes drawer, filling a cereal box, even covering the rug in his living room—where we finally see the perpetrator, a hairless breed called the Sphynx cat, about to do its business in what Langlois said was an unscripted moment.

“It wasn’t supposed to happen, it just did,” said Langlois. “That was one of the shot choices we had, but when we saw it, it just added a cherry on top. There was poop in the cereal, so why not go there at the end?”

Directed by Nicolas Brassard of Nova Film, the spot employs an almost hazy visual style created through low lighting and the use of smoke. Langlois said the objective was to evoke the feeling that the man in the spot was trapped inside the odour. The spot also features a painting of the Sphynx cat by copywriter Olivier Giguère that’s visible from the 10- to 12-second mark.

Mondou and lg2 have spent the past couple of years presenting a range of experiences—touching, sad, laugh-out-loud funny—that can come from owning a pet, even winning the most recent edition of CBC/Radio-Canada’s popular Bye Bye de la pub ad competition with a cringe-inducing spot featuring a dog vigorously licking itself before doing the same to the face of a party guest.

“When we approached the client, what we were thinking is that owning pets can be sad, really funny, or even [evoke] anger,” said Langlois. “It’s all over the place, so we allow ourselves to play with that.”

The campaign is running through the year on digital and social, with the main spot accompanied by a series of six-second cutdowns. Media for the campaign was handled by Adviso.

Chris Powell