The undeniable bond between man’s best friend and their owners has been showcased in a touching new Italian campaign from pet food brand Ultima Affinity. Creatively devised by Havas Milan, the series of films explores how our lives can be changed when we find a pet that truly connects with us.
The #GrandiDentro campaign includes a trio of cinematic films, directed by Great Guns’ Frankie Caradonna
, that tell three unique stories of the powerful bonds between dogs and their owners. One film focuses on Riccardo and his pet Rudy – who had originally been abandoned when he was a puppy. After breaking up with his partner and moving to a place on his own, Riccardo adopted Rudy as a new companion. In a powerful moment, it’s revealed that Rudy once helped save a stranger’s life, pulling Riccardo into a park where a jogger had collapsed from a heart attack. Riccardo called the emergency services just in time, and the pair remain good friends to this day.
The next spot tells the story of Daniela – a volunteer in the dog rescue unit of Italy’s Civil Protection Department – and her Jack Russel ‘J’. J played a vital role in the response to the 2016 Amatrice earthquake – one of Italy’s biggest natural disasters in recent years – as his small size and natural hunting skills allowed him to find survivors and aid rescuers, firemen, and policemen. Daniela explains how she is in awe of her dog’s strength, noting ‘he is small, but I think he has a lion’s heart.’
The final film follows actress Beatrice and her dog Dexter. After experiencing a period of severe depression, Dexter came along and changed Beatrice’s life – teaching her to trust people, enjoy present moments, and combat her negative feelings. Beatrice explains how she immediately fell in love with her dog’s ability to blindly trust her and her family, following her wherever she goes.
Director Frankie Caradonna comments: “As a pet lover who grew up with cats and dogs, I loved this project from day one. There’s something pure in the relationship between a pet and their owner, something that goes beyond love. When Havas Milan asked me to tell these stories, I was over the moon. We did loads of research and found so many amazing stories, but the three we chose each had something very authentic and unique.”
The crew travelled across Italy for the shoot, starting in Padua and then journeying to Prato and Milan – facing a number of challenges along the way. Not only did each story have to be shot within one day, but the team had to source a number of locations on the go whilst facing the start of the country’s Coronavirus outbreak. Frankie and cinematographer Mik Allen worked to ensure the safety of the shoot as the fallout of the pandemic became apparent, with the country locking down as they finished the shoot.
Frankie adds: “I decided to stay in Milan for the post production – the city locked down and we needed to complete the edit and grade. Luckily James O’Connell, my wonderful music and sound composer, was already working in the UK on some beautiful demos. I’ve been self-isolating for a while now and I’m so glad for the company I have, including my pets. A four-legged friend’s presence is life-changing. Especially in the days of quarantine and self-isolation, having a pet makes my mood so much lighter.”
Agency: Havas Milan / PROVIDENCE (Havas Group)
Deputy Executive Creative Directors: Aureliano Fontana, Bruno Vohwinkel
Senior Copywriter: Andrea Zanino
Senior Art Director: Pierpaolo Bivio
Junior Copywriter: Giulia Meggiolaro
Junior Art Director: Claudia Basile
Account Director: Elena Pozzi
Account Executive: Federica Usai
Producer: Giulia Atzori
Production Company: BASEMENT
Executive Producer: Francesco Crespi
Producer: Valeria Spilotro
Production Manager: Alessandra Rosso
Assistant Producer: Alice Bergamin
Director: Francesco Caradonna (represented by Great Guns globally, excluding Italy)
DoP: Mik Allen
Music: James O’Connell
Grading: Daniel Pallucca
Editing: Matteo Motzo
On set Photographer: Luca Ava