Campaign SpotlightPress Release

Southern Cross Pet Insurance, New Zealand Veterinary Association, and TBWA\NZ say “Paws Off!” to protect cats and dogs from human food

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND — Southern Cross Pet Insurance, along with the New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA), has rallied brands and marketers to protect cats and dogs from human foods that can make them ill and, in doing so, change the face of pet food safety forever.

“Paws Off!” is a new initiative and campaign developed by creative agency TBWA\NZ. It will form part of Southern Cross Pet Insurance’s ongoing initiative to identify and tackle the threats pets face to help them live their best, longest lives.


Recent research* from Southern Cross Pet Insurance shows that one in three Kiwi pet owners are in the dark about the everyday foods and drinks which can be harmful, or even fatal, to their beloved furry friends.

To combat this, the pet insurer, alongside the NZVA, has launched the world’s first freely available warning symbol to educate people on ingredients that are unsafe for pets. Free and easy for anybody to use, the symbol comes with simple guidelines and information about what makes certain foods and drinks so toxic.

CMOs are invited to show their support by applying the Paws Off! symbol to packaging and sharing it on social media. To access the symbol and information, CMOs can visit here. TBWA\NZ worked with Seachange Studio to create the symbol and design system which is agnostic and can be applied by any relevant brand.

Following the initial packaging-focused phase of the campaign, Southern Cross Pet Insurance will be raising awareness amongst consumers about toxic ingredients for pets. Veterinarians will receive pamphlets highlighting the food safety messaging to hand out to pet owners, which will also be available to download and share.

Paws Off! is supported by a fully integrated campaign including film, OOH, PR, digital and social, where the Paws Off! character is reaching out to global CMOs and brands with examples of how the warning symbol could be adopted.

Shane Bradnick, CCO at TBWA\New Zealand, commented, “We’re really proud to launch this special project with our partners at Southern Cross Pet Insurance and NZVA. We hope the warning symbol is adopted by brands far and wide to help educate all humans on items that have the potential to make our pets sick. We’ve already had encouraging conversations with lots of brands and businesses about Paws Off!, and I’d like to invite anyone in the food and drink industry to reach out and support Paws Off! in some way. Seachange Studio also did an awesome job working with us to create the symbol and design system so it can be easily applied and used.”

Bridgette Muir, Head of Product and Marketing, Southern Cross Pet Insurance, added, “This project is entirely insight-led and has the potential to be truly transformational, helping more pets live their best lives for longer. We want manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers to use the symbol on their packaging and in their communications. So, we’re laying it down as a challenge to all food and beverage brands. Alongside this we have a strong campaign educating people on what’s safe and what’s not for their pets, meaning Paws Off! will make a difference to the wellbeing of thousands of pets.”

Sally Cory, Head of Veterinary Services, Companion Animal, New Zealand Vet Association, added, “Knowing what’s safe and not safe is super important. Southern Cross has shared some worrying numbers with us around the volume of claims paid out for consumption of chocolate, raisins, and related items over the last 12 months. The road to recovery is an expensive one, especially if you don’t have pet insurance to help foot the bill for treatment.”

*SCPI undertook online research with 1,000 New Zealanders, aged 18+, conducted by Pure Profile


Client: Southern Cross Pet Insurance
Head of Product & Marketing: Bridgette Muir
Marketing Manager: Kristen Gernandt
Marketing Manager: Anna Holley

Agency: TBWA/New Zealand
Social: Eleven NZ
Chief Creative Officer: Shane Bradnick
Creative Directors: Ashley Wilding, Daniel Davison
Head of Business Management: Simon Mills
Senior Account Manager: Angelica Molina
Planning Director: Luke Kelly
Agency Producer: Jodie Hari
Editor: Hayden Cook

Design Agency: Seachange Studio

Media Agency: MBM NZ

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