Throughout the years, producers have worked with animals to create some of the most memorable commercials. Who can forget the “¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!” chihuahua, the Bush’s Baked Beans Golden Retriever Duke, Bud Light’s Bull Terrier Spud McKenzie, or the Cadbury Bunny?

Each of these commercials proved a hit for adults and children alike. Cadbury even took it a step further with a Cadbury bunny auditions” commercial featuring many different animals.

Including animals in your online videos can add an element of fun or downright silliness to your marketing strategy. It can be a great move for your brand to occasionally incorporate lighthearted material in your online presence. If you are seriously considering using an animal in your next marketing video, here are some tips:

1. You are the Director, the Animal is Not

You don’t have to be the Dog Whisperer. But, you do have to be able to control your animal talent. This is especially important if they are expected to perform a particular action in the video.

Control can be accomplished for most animals with obedience lessons. Or, depending on how much time and patience you have, using training books.

The ability to follow simple commands such as “Sit” and “Stay” are obviously necessary and most tricks can be taught relatively easily if the trainer knows what (s)he is doing. Keep in mind that training animals with hand signals versus verbal commands can prove very helpful in the video editing process.

2. Hair and Make-up

We are going to go with Cesar Milan, Dog Whisperer, on this one and suggest that you do not apply hair dye or other “make-up” to your animal. At the very least, thoroughly check that the products are safe for use on animals.

That does not mean your star cannot look good, of course! Make sure the animal you are filming is well-groomed. They should be recently bathed and trimmed, with their nails cut, and teeth brushed if possible. A shiny coat can go a long way!

3. Limit Distractions

Even the most well-behaved animals can become distracted. When working with them, attempt to start off focused, and finish filming as quickly as possible. We recommend not having other animals or too many people around, unless they are also in the video.

4. Don’t Forget the Bloopers!

You generally need several takes of the same scene when only working with humans. When animals are involved, you can expect to have just as many – if not more.

Don’t be too quick to delete extra takes during the editing process. If viewers really take to your animal star, a blooper reel may prove to be just as big a hit as your original commercial video. You might want to publish the original video before uploading the blooper reel to a video hosting site.

5. Where to Find the Talent

There are agencies that represent trained and experienced animal talent. This is a good option if you would really like to cast an animal in one of your online videos, but have no pets of your own (or you can admit your pets simply are not star material!), are in need of a more exotic pet, and are willing to pay.

Such agencies include Beyond Just Bears, and Pawsitively Famous Animal Actors. When using an animal talent agency, we encourage you to use a reputable and certified company by doing your research and asking around.

Have you ever cast an animal in an online video commercial? How did it go, and do you have any words of wisdom to share? Be sure to leave your tips, experiences, and favorite animal talents with us on Facebook and Twitter.