"The involuntary twitches, the grimaces and the laughter to hide the pain were perfect proof points to our message: if we can't take it, neither should our pets"
The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has once again teamed up with Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore (F&B) to champion the well-being of man’s best friend - this time aiming to stop the use of electric shock collars for dog training purposes.
The campaign, titled 'Tough People vs Shock Collar', is an unfiltered and intimate look at the very real pain an electric shock collar inflicts on some of Singapore’s strongest humans. Once you’ve seen it, it's impossible to imagine inflicting such pain onto defenceless animals.
The powerful black-and-white imagery aims to draw awareness to the fact that this tool is still used in Singapore, and shift the public’s opinion of it from acceptance to rejection.
Ivan Guerra, creative at Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore, said: "This is an idea that originated from a good old product test: we tested the shock collar on ourselves and hated it! The involuntary twitches, the grimaces and the laughter to hide the pain were perfect proof points to our message: if we can't take it, neither should our pets."
With this campaign, SPCA is renewing their call for a ban on the use of the electric shock collar, as their stance is that the device has no place in animal training. As the film points out, the use of such collars is already banned or significantly restricted in numerous countries around the world, but not in Singapore. This despite the fact that studies have shown that shock collar training is not in any way more effective than force-free training and at the same time, compromises a dog’s welfare and causes fear, pain and stress.
The campaign is part of SPCA’s broader 'Teach with Kindness' initiative, that promotes humane animal training to protect the well-being of animals islandwide. Audiences can explore more content and share their own stories under the hashtag #teachwithkindness. To show support for a ban on shock collars, the public is also encouraged to sign SPCA’s pledge to choose force free methods for animal training on the website.
The talents featured in the campaign are Ahmad Taufiq (Strongman) Muhammad, 39, a youth worker and educator who has won the Singapore Strongest Man competition; Jon Kelly, 29, a fitness coach who has qualified for the Spartan Elite APAC Championship; Efasha Kamarudin, 29, the first female Singaporean to win a gold medal in an international boxing tournament; and Shrek, 39, a fitness coach and qualified Gold Medal Bodies (GMB) trainer. They star alongside Soba, a two-year-old Beagle.
Jaipal Singh Gill, executive director, SPCA, commented: “The film demonstrates how much pain a shock collar can cause and why it should never be used as part of modern day animal training. These top athletes endured the shocks to raise awareness of this important issue so that animals could be spared the pain. We thank them for their sacrifice.”
The campaign was created and produced pro bono by F&B alongside production partners Heckler and Fuse. The film will be supported with paid media online, and accompanied by stills which will be used in social media.
Charu Menon, executive producer at Heckler Singapore, said: “At Heckler, we have a lot of love for our four-legged friends, so this was a topic that was very close to our hearts. We loved collaborating with the creatives at Forsman & Bodenfors to bring this important message to life and we hope this campaign changes the behaviour of dog owners for the better.”
This is the second campaign for SPCA by F&B, following Background Homes in 2020. The two organisations also collaborated on this year’s Crowbar Challenge, providing the brief for the competing students and acted as judges.