The Veterinary Film Marketing Team Needs a Little Work

The American Veterinary Medical Association is not known for being on the cutting edge of pop culture or media relations. Like its cousin the American Medical Association, professional organizations like this all tend to err on the side of conservatism. That is just the nature of the beast, and I get that.


So it is with some degree of bemusement that I noted the AVMA has recently released a 30 second movie trailer in honor of its 150th anniversary. And why, might you ask, does the profession need a movie trailer? From the press release:

“The goal of the ad is to promote the veterinary profession to the public, and to highlight the many other things that veterinarians do beyond treating pet cats and dogs,โ€ explains Dr. Douglas G. Aspros, president of the AVMA. โ€œWe hope that this will help boost public awareness of the important role veterinarians fill in our society, and across the globe.โ€

It ran all last week, but in case you didn’t catch it, here is the fruit of their creative labors:

Yes. Well. I’d say filmmaking is not the strong suit of my profession, no? I’m not even going to address the music, because that is beyond unforgiveable. There have been so many hundreds of thousands of instrumentals produced since 1995 that it boggles the mind why they couldn’t choose a single one that would be applicable. I’ll admit it. I cringed.

Speaking of cringing, can we talk about the Kool Aid man “OH YEAHHHHH”? Because I have never once used that term to describe anything about my professional career, as in “You know what I did today? A cystotomy OHHHH YEAAAAAH” *high five* I’m thinking back on twelve years of practice plus four of school and I’ve known a lot of nerdy types, and not one has ever been that nerdy.

However, all of that would be forgivable had the piece actually served its self-stated purpose, which to refresh your memory is “boost public awareness of the important role veterinarians fill in our society, and across the globe.”

I appreciate the idea behind the message and I would love to see it realized. I see they got the whole “beyond cats and dogs” thing down, but as far as I could tell the entire segment shows the standard coated veterinarians auscultating a bunch of not-dogs-and-cats over and over. Maybe my clients are savvier than most, but most people understand that veterinarians also treat horses and birds, unless there is a study I am not privy to that says the contrary.

Perhaps at the AVMA conference in July they will reveal the marketing focus group that determined 95% of children 8-12 who will be at Monsters University do not know that veterinarians treat lizards, and if we can get that message across… well, it will make all of us better and more successful. Or maybe this was simply a huge misfire.

I’m sorry, AVMA, as a member I want to love all that you do, but I have yet to meet a single colleague who liked this. I was messaged this 15 separate times by aghast veterinarians who are wondering why none of us were consulted as to why this might be a horrible thing. And it does pain me, because guess what?


My career let me go to Tanzania and meet all these people and give that dog a dewormer so he would not transmit disease to those young children. Can I get an OH YEAH!

Veterinarians ARE amazing. We do things like work with Maasai in dust filled markets to keep their punda healthy and economically viable. We send teams of students out to the most underserved communities on Native American reservations to reach out to not only the animals, but the children who live there and see a glimpse that the outside world cares about their health. We work with MDs to try and find the common links between canine cancer and human cancer. We fit elephants with prosthetics. We keep guide dogs healthy so they can give wounded veterans a reason to get up in the morning. My heart fills with joy every day when I see the jaw dropping work my fellow vets are doing out in this world, and not a single bit of that “HOLY FISTULATED RUMENS THAT WAS COOL” came across in that snoozefest.

To contrast, this is something I made in iMovie while I was in Peru with AmazonCares. I made it WHILE I was in Peru, on a boat. It took about 30 minutes. You tell me which one makes being a vet look like more fun.


We do some seriously cool stuff, and this was an opportunity to showcase that, that was totally squandered.

So, sorry about the trailer guys. Hopefully next time they’ll call Tarantino, or at least, you know, poll a few vets or something.

Filed: Blog, Musings Tagged: , ,
  • Cathey Avery

    Okay, there is NO contest here – Snoozefest or the Amazing Dr. V? PU-LEEEZE! What a missed opportunity. They could have used your video as it stands and done more good! And as a recruiting tool? Again, no contest. You would think in the whole AVMA office staff there would have been at least one person who would have been able to clue them in to their error! If I were trying to get a young person excited about veterinary medicine, HERE is where I’d send them – you do the whole thing, from mundane to miraculous, pulling no punches about what you like and don’t. And at the same time, you make me wish I’d had the science brains to pursue animal medicine. It’s a wide a varied field with many, many rewards and perks and one that I believe I could have found a niche in.

  • Sue W.

    Enthusiastic clap, clap, clap for your film! Not gonna mention the other one because I feel asleep during it.
    When I see yours I want to be you, I want to travel and help others and just. be. awesome. like you.
    When I see the first one I want to nap.

  • This post is too funny! Thank you for writing it, Jessica. I truly do love your sense of humor and your writing style.

    I had heard about the AVMA trailer, but hadn’t yet seen it. I kinda hope there’s a lot of other people out there in the same boat… i.e. haven’t seen it. What a blown opportunity ๐Ÿ™ Ah, c’est la vie. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another 150 years for another crack at it.

    In their defense though, they have produced a cool coffee table book to celebrate the 150 years of the AVMA. I just got a copy last week. Quick flip-through (about all I have time for these days) looked nice.

    Hope you’re well and having a great day! Oh, and… awesome job on your Amazon video!

    • OK, so coffee table books are more their speed. Sounds good, I’ll check it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tamara

    I think we should blame it on their PR firm, because we all know veterinarians are cool! You prove that every day, Dr. V. They should take a cue from your video. It’s better than most summer movies!

  • Elliott Garber

    Love this, Dr. V! You can imagine how disappointed I was about that trailer, given my interests and mission!

    • I think we should all encourage vets across the globe to upload a 30 second clip of the amazing stuff they do and we can cobble something together that really rocks.

      • Eden Myers

        Dr. V, I think this is a great idea. If you are interested in pursuing it, let me know and we’ll see about putting together a team to do it.

  • lns

    maybe you should submit your video to them or offer to assist. gotta love iMovie!

  • Ryan

    One more example of the activity traps in which the AVMA engages on a regular basis.… NOAH… an $80,000-178,000 logo… and now a technically and informationally inferior “trailer.” The AVMA leadership is out of touch, and they’re wondering why there is an undercurrent of discontent among members and former members. And what happens when AVMA leadership is confronted with this discontent? Deceit, defensiveness and dismissal. (Doubt me? Read the NOAH message boards and the responses to critical Letters to the Editor in JAVMA.) It’s time to stop sending the membership dues that fund this waste.