Telus created ‘critter comforts,’ because who doesn’t love cute animals?

Who: Telus, with National PR for concept, strategy, and implementation.

What: “Critter Comforts,” a “doctor-approved” campaign inspired by the insight that people love watching animal content online. Telus, of course, has been producing animal content long before algorithms knew about it.

When & Where: The campaign is live now. A fundraising component runs through the end of March, but content marketing, social, influencer and other activations are planned throughout the year.

Why: Based on the sheer volume of animal content in social feeds these days, people really love creatures. And Telus has survey data to back it up: 80% of Canadians feel happier, and 63% say their mood improved after watching animal videos online. For a company whose brand is inextricably linked to cute animals, Telus realized it was in a position to give people some happiness—in other words, drive brand affinity with its iconic visual brand identity: Critters.

Like the fireplace channel or the aquarium channel, the “Critter Comforts” playlist consists of nothing more than just animals being cute—providing some comforting distraction to Canadians while raising money for charities that help animals.

“As a purpose-driven organization, we are committed to using our technology, resources and compassion to help make the world a better place,” said Jill Schnarr, chief communications and brand officer for Telus. “With the launch of our Critter Comforts playlist, we have the unique ability to leverage our leading brand iconography to help benefit the health and well-being of Canadians and the animals that we love.”

How: In basic terms, the anchor film is 15 minutes of animals calmly walking, waddling, floating, and bouncing across a white backdrop, while a meditative track plays in the background.

The entire film feels a bit like a retrospective of Telus campaigns dating back years, from bears, butterflies and bunnies, to baby deer and baby ducks. There’s no call to action, and barely any branding—just a white Telus logo in the upper corner that is barely perceptible against the white backdrop. The video is on YouTube, as well as Telus’s Optik TV in B.C., Alberta and Quebec.

For every view of the Critter Comforts playlist on YouTube, Telus will give $1 (up to $100,000), to charities that support service animals, wildlife rehabilitation and animal therapy.

Quote (from a doctor): “Research points out that even without direct access to animals or pets, people can attain therapeutic benefits simply by viewing animals on screen or on social media,” said Dr. Aubrey Fine, professor emeritus and psychologist specializing in human animal interactions and animal-assisted therapy. “Telus Critter Comforts playlist provides a simple and convenient alternative for Canadians to enjoy and benefit from the positive impact animals have on our daily lives.”

David Brown