National commercial puts Montrose
on the map – again.
By Brandon HENSLEY
“This is the Montrose Pet Hospital, in Montrose, Calif.” On a normal workday, pets and their owners walk in as receptionist Cheryl Litchfield greets them. They have a seat next to a table with various magazines and can admire pictures on the wall of the hospital’s employees with all kinds of dogs posing around town. Only then does Dr. Kym Mitchell appear, ready to attend to the animals in the backroom.
Having just opened this April, it’s a small, comfortable place to take your pets. But now that the hospital and its workers have been showcased in a national commercial for AT&T this summer, it has become the Montrose Pet Hospital, the place to take your pets. The place of, ohmygosh, I saw you guys on TV!
It all started this spring, when AT&T was searching nationally to spotlight companies using their new system, Office@Hand, a mobile business phone system that allows work to be done from any location if bosses or employees are out of the office.
Montrose Pet Hospital uses it and AT&T scouted the location. A month passed afterward, and that seemed to be that, thought Mitchell. But the company returned and told Mitchell they had picked her business for the commercial. The kicker? They were going to use the real name and location and real employees were going to be in the spot.
“This is such a blessing. This doesn’t happen to people,” said Litchfield when they received the news.
So AT&T came in, with lighting and cameras, hair and makeup people, not to mention a gourmet spread, and took over the place.
“It looked like they were filming a movie,” said Sierra Westerholm, a technician and receptionist.
They took down pictures and made it a little more “grungy,” according to Litchfield. They took out the furniture and replaced it with plastic chairs. Shelves were put up on empty walls full of pet food and leashes.
It filmed in one day. It started at 7:15 a.m. and lasted 12 hours if you ask Litchfield, 13 if you ask Mitchell. The commercial was filmed on a workday, but AT&T compensated the hospital for what they would have made.
The 30-second ad includes Litchfield, Westerholm and Mitchell, who can be seen putting a stethoscope to a pig on the examining table. That doesn’t happen very often in real life, said Mitchell.
“They used that for the novelty of the commercial,” said Mitchell, who worked at Rosemont Pet Hospital for 18 years before starting this one. She recalled the pig being so big three helpers had to lift it up onto the table,and she was warned not to go near its mouth because it could bite her.
After such a long day on set, “The next day we were walking zombies,” said Litchfield, which wasn’t good because they got many people who called or came in asking what all the fuss was the day before.
But now, they’re practically toasts of the town. The commercial plays nationwide, and in prime time too. Litchfield’s dad now calls it “the annoying commercial that gets played all the time.”
Relatives and friends of the new celebrities from Florida, Colorado and Pennsylvania have called in to say how excited they were to see the ad and that they had no idea it was going to happen.
Westerholm’s Facebook has been blowing up. Daily comments on her wall include, “Hey there TV star,” “I saw you on TV!” and, “Just saw you and Dr. Mitchell rocking my TV set! Right on!”
Litchfield said she’s had more responses on her Facebook about this than she gets for her birthday.
Was it hard to act? In the words of Westerholm, who has the last scene, totally.
“Even though walking a dog and tapping a phone looks simple, when there’s that many people around you and they literally have a camera on you, it’s different. Do I smile? Do I frown? Do I walk fast?”
Mitchell, who co-owns the business with Ben Sures, said since the commercial appeared, business has definitely gone up. Some people were pleasantly surprised to know she is still in town because they didn’t know where she went.
“It’s going really well so far,” she said of her first year. “We’re really happy. We have a really good staff … it’s busy and that’s good.”
“Dr. Mitchell, she’s been in town for 20 years but she opens a new business and you can’t ask for anything better than that,” Westerholm said of the commercial, “You can’t ask for advertisement like that. It was awesome.”
Fans of the movie “Old School” will note that the popular scene where Will Ferrell’s character goes streaking was filmed on Honolulu Avenue. That was one kind of exposure for the town. Thanks to AT&T and Montrose Pet Hospital, now there’s even more.