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17thJuly 2013

Penrith Shih Tzu Wins Nationwide TV Ad Competition

Barney, a Shih Tzu from Penrith in Cumbria, has won a nationwide competition to feature alongside 41 other pets in a national television advert for pet insurer, Petplan. Barney went head-to-head with 29,000 fame hungry fidos, felines and flopsys’ to win a starring role in the brand’s first ever ‘user-generated’ television advert.

When Barney was one year and six months, his owner, nurse Gemma Lowis, noticed he had started tripping up and walking into things. After a visit to the vet, it turned out that he had developed cataracts in both eyes which was very unusual for his breed and his age. Following surgery Barney bounced back very quickly and was soon his normal, happy self, showing what a resilient, good natured dog he is!

Gemma explains the story behind the winning image: “The photo I submitted is of Barney lying in the snow wearing his lovely woolly coat that he loves to wear when it’s cold and wet. He adores the snow, and this shot captures the first time he went out in it since the operation on his eyes. My husband and I took lots of photos that day of him playing, as we were so excited to have our old Barney back.”

Barney has found fame after Gemma submitted his photograph to Petplan’s Facebook page in February. Barney was then chosen as one of the 100 finalists by an independent panel of judges before being selected as one of the winners by public vote on the Petplan UK Facebook page.

Isabella Von Mesterhazy, Petplan’s Head of Marketing, said “At Petplan we pride ourselves on being ‘pet people’ and as a nation of known animal lovers, what better way to celebrate this than give real pets the chance to star in our TV ad. This competition captured genuine emotion and sentiment amongst pet owners and the final ad will evoke the same feelings when viewed.”

Barney’s image will feature alongside the voice of Ben Miller from comedy double act Armstrong and Miller in a one-off television advert to be aired nationwide on primetime TV on Wednesday 17th July. To see their starring moment, tune into the TV programme Zoo on ITV between 8pm-9pm. But if you miss your local pet star’s moment of fame, don’t worry, you can also watch the advert on the Petplan website: www.petplan.co.uk and the Petplan UK Facebook page: www.facebook.com/PetplanUK.

Notes to editors

Established over 35 years ago, Petplan is the UK's number one pet insurance provider in the world, offering comprehensive lifetime pet insurance cover for dogs, cats and rabbits. Petplan, is part of Allianz Insurance, one of the largest general insurers in the UK.