There’s a reason why you have two ears and one mouth

When I first met with the marketing team at Animal Humane Society (AHS) in Golden Valley to create their fundraising commercial, I started with the end in mind. I asked: What are the most important messages for viewers to take away from this spot? That question spurred a great conversation, and as with all my clients, the most important thing for me to do at that moment was to listen.

Listening is key to beginning a project like this. After an hour-long, very productive visioning session, it was clear that AHS is all about love and compassion for the animals in its care. Love and compassion was our endgame.

To showcase that, I knew I needed to capture those genuine moments of love and compassion with the camera. From a little girl meeting a new kitty, to an extreme close-up of a caretaker kissing a puppy after its bath, to veterinary staff gently moving an injured dog needing care. Every moment mattered.

In the past, AHS has worked with several larger agencies to create its annual fundraising spots. While the work was beautiful from a technical standpoint, the spots didn’t hit the combination of heart, authenticity and messaging AHS was hoping for. The people at AHS knew what they wanted, but the end results often felt more like the agency’s vision rather than a creation based on the client’s wishes. Perhaps the agency wasn’t listening.

One of the lead communicators for AHS, Carrie Libera, paid me a big compliment. She said it was refreshing to connect directly with the creative individual working on the spot rather than going through an agency representative. That, she said, helped achieve maximum efficiency and completion of the project well ahead of deadline.

After delivering the final version of the spot, I got an email from Carrie that confirmed our success in meeting her team’s goal. It read, “You completely rocked this project and everyone here is beyond thrilled with the final commercial. I thought it would be a struggle to fit all the moments we wanted to show into 30 seconds, but we did it! Creative Soul Video took our mission and put it into motion.”

When you hire Creative Soul Video, you hire me, the creative individual directly involved with and responsible for the creation of your spot. I view myself as a partner, not just a vendor. Partners emotionally connect with the client and share a joint ownership of the project.

I was truly impressed with the great people working at AHS. Their passion for helping animals is evident in everything they do, and I’m honored they trusted me to illustrate that in the piece. Here’s the commercial that is airing now. I hope you enjoy it and all the wonderful things AHS does for our animals and surrounding communities.

Remember, there’s a reason why we have two ears and one mouth. Are you listening?

Mark Anderson is the Chief Storyteller and CEO of Creative Soul Video, a video production company from Minneapolis, MN. Mark has won over 20 Emmys for his work as a visual storyteller. Email:

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