Ad Council Case study The Shelter Pet Project by J. Walter Thompson New York

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The Shelter Pet Project

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Industry Charities, Foundations, Volunteers
Media Case study
Market United States
Agency J. Walter Thompson New York
Director Claire Cottrell
Executive Creative Director Emmanuel Lalleve, Florent Imbert
Producer Nick Orsini, Donna Lee
Editor Dustin Stephens Vfx
Released March 2016


Cannes Lions 2016
Cyber Social: Influencer / Talent Silver Lion

Credits & Description

Agency: J. Walter Thompson
Brand: Ad Council, Maddies Fund, The Humane Society Of The United States
Country: USA
Advertising Agency: J. Walter Thompson, New York
Entrant Company: J. Walter Thompson, New York
Media Agency: J. Walter Thompson, New York
Pr Agency: J. Walter Thompson, New York
Production Company: J. Walter Thompson, New York
Additional Company: J. Walter Thompson, New York
Art Buyer: Frannie Schultz (J. Walter Thompson, New York)
Global Business Director: Greg Mcconnell (J. Walter Thompson, New York)
Producer: Nick Orsini (J. Walter Thompson, New York)
Account Director: Stephanie Blake (J. Walter Thompson, New York)
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Brent Choi (J. Walter Thompson)
Assistant Editor: Colin Edelman (Ps260)
Director Of Digital: Jennifer Usdan Mcbride (J. Walter Thompson)
Senior Copywriter: Andrew Curtis (J. Walter Thompson)
Senior Art Director: Ben Morejon (J. Walter Thompson)
Planner: Jackie Prince (J. Walter Thompson, New York)
Audio Engineer: Rob Fielack (Plush)
Tv Producer: Andrea Rodriguez (J. Walter Thompson, New York)
Executive Producer: Dana Villareal (Plush)
Producer: Donna Lee (Ps260)
Executive Creative Director: Florent Imbert (J. Walter Thompson)
Director Of Broadcast Talent: Jamie Whitfield (J. Walter Thompson, New York)
Senior Print Producer: Steve Sincero (J. Walter Thompson, New York)
Music Artist: Charles L. Schmidt (Charles L. Schmidt)
Director: Claire Cottrell (Decon)
Editor: Dustin Stephens (Ps260)
Project Manager: Lauren Galanek (J. Walter Thompson, New York)
Executive Creative Director: Emmanuel Lalleve (J. Walter Thompson, New York)
Music Artist: Lullatone (Lullatone)
The tagline for the campaign was “Start a story – adopt.” We wanted to use the stories of celebrity pets and influencers to encourage people to tell their shelter pet adoption stories and create awareness and a movement toward adopting shelter pets.We began the campaign featuring the stories of our three celebrity pets: Keyboard Cat (8+ million views on YouTube), Toast (325k+ followers on Instagram), and Hamilton (82k+ followers on Instagram). Films ran as PSA's on TV and in social channels. We also created print, radio, OOH and digital banners. The campaign has achieved over 100,000,000 impressions to date. That was only the beginning. We leveraged the social media channels of over 70 cause supporters, both pets and humans, to support the campaign by telling their story of adopting a shelter pet. And at every touchpoint we encouraged people to share their stories in social media with hashtag #startastoryadopt.
Campaign Description:
We challenged the misperceptions by providing examples of shelter pets that are perfect, healthy and happy. Pets that everyone knows and loves. The most famous dogs and cats today aren’t coming from Hollywood; they’re coming from the internet. Videos of dogs and cats can have millions of views. There are pets with millions of fans, followers and likes. Today, there are cat film festivals, pet agents and celebrity pet products. Many of these celebrity pets started as shelter pets.
To better understand the issue and audience, we conducted focus groups and then underwent a detailed quantitative study with 1,402 respondents. Words like sad, abused and scared were frequently used to describe shelter pets. Our strategy was to challenge these perceptions. Most PSA’s around pet shelters are depressing, focusing on the potential for euthanasia. We felt that this approach exacerbates the problem, and is a turn-off to potential adopters. We wanted to be positive, tell fun, real stories that show shelter pets for what they really are, making adoption the obvious preference for obtaining a pet. Videos of pets are extremely popular. In fact, the Internet’s most popular stars have four legs. We leveraged this phenomenon by telling the adoption story of some of the internet’s most famous pets.
Through the campaign we’ve helped build social cachet around shelter pet adoption. We’re replacing the image of shelter pets as damaged and unwanted with the understanding that these amazing pets are a perfect fit for adopters and their families.The campaign has dramatically increased engagement in social media and +64% growth in the volume of interactions on Instagram, the primary social channel for the campaign (vs. Q4 2015).The campaign has already started to make an impact on preference for obtaining a pet. More visitors coming to have a high intention to adopt:•+80% in visits looking to find a shelter in Q1 2016 (vs. Q1 2015)•+82% in visits searching for a pet to adopt in Q1 2016 (vs. Q1 2015)
There is a misperception in the US that shelter pets are damaged or have issues, and that shelters are sad places to go. In reality, most of the dogs and cats available don’t have any issues. Unfortunately, the majority of people looking for a pet aren’t aware that they can find a perfect pet at a shelter, and blindly get their pets elsewhere (breeders, pet shops). As a result, each year, 2.4 million healthy pets are euthanized in the US because they are unable to find homes.The Shelter Pet Project is the first national PSA campaign created to bring together large animal welfare organizations—The Humane Society of the United States and Maddie's Fund®—with shelters across the country for one unified goal: to increase pet adoption.