THE UNDERDOG for THE UNDERDOG CLUB

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THE UNDERDOG

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Industry Charities, Foundations, Volunteers, Environmental & Animal Issues
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Released July 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Charity and Not for Profit
Advertiser: THE UNDERDOG CLUB
Product/Service: HOMELESS DOGS MARKETING AGENCY
Creative Director: Fern Breslaw (Cossette)
Copywriters: Jessica Ghersi/ Susan Newman/ Christina Brown
Art Director: Fern Breslaw (Cossette)
Web Developer: james Patterson
Public Relations Director: Cynthia Lee
Photographers: Jaime Leblanc / Nicole Leger
Production House: Pow! Productions
Gallery Director: Gael Fraser-Tytler
Web Director: Yslane M'sahi
Agency Sponsor: Cossette
Rescue Lead: Alana Lapierre
Event Director: Kelly Kehn
Fundraising Lead: Sherri Stabina
Media placement: Column - Inc. The Westmount Independent - April 01, 2007
Media placement: Website - Underdogclub.org - Sept 01, 2009
Media placement: Retail - The Underdog Club Gallery - Sept 11, 2009
Media placement: Newsletter - E-Mail - April 01, 2010
Media placement: Student Programs - High Schools - Sept 11, 2009
Media placement: Community Walks - Parks - March 01, 2010

Summary of the Campaign
The Underdog Club is the first-ever Dog Marketing Agency. They package and promote hard-to-place dogs, you know, the old ones, the ugly ones and the downright unpopular ones, so they have a shot at a better life. These dogs are often forgotten or ignored in rescues and shelters with little hope. The Underdog Club, a not-for-profit organisation, helps these needy characters in creative ways, both online and in print. They fund and seek sponsorship, involve and educate kids on animal welfare, and bring together a community of dog lovers in a totally novel and inspiring way. The club consists of over 500 members and is run by a smaller team of 40 crazy, dog-obsessed volunteers who aren't afraid of getting a little fur on their clothes. To date, they have placed over 100 underdogs from a dozen shelters into loving homes and have raised over USD 30.000 for dogs in desperate need of medical attention. And they just got started a year ago. We think this is the beginning of something huge for the little guys. It's smart, friendly, and fun and makes you want to come back and do it all over again.

The Goal
The goal of The Underdog Club has been to promote 'unadoptable' dogs in a way that will make people fall in love with them. We targeted and involved animal humanists of all ages, whether it's youth volunteers, schools, working professionals, shopkeepers, corporate sponsors or the media. We worked with them to help fund, promote and place these dogs through the Underdog Gallery, underdogclub.org, Junior Clubbers programmes in schools, fundraising events and weekly editorials.

Results
- Strong media coverage (TV, radio, newspapers, blogs). - Recruitment of more than 500 volunteers (TUC Ambassadors). - More than 6,000 visitors to the website per month. - Over USD 30,000 for dogs in desperate need of medical attention. - Hundreds of adopted Underdogs, with a placement rate of almost 75%. - And above all, public awareness of the plight of abandoned dogs in Quebec.

Execution
The Club started off very small - it was really just one dog a week in the paper. The website was launched late summer and, because of the amount of care, witty and fresh writing and totally unexpected presentation, became an immediate hit. We then saw the potential to do something bigger by launching the Underdog Gallery to get the dogs out of their foster homes and dingy cages, and put them somewhere where they actually look hot. It was only supposed to last for a month, but the whole idea mushroomed beyond anything we had expected. Volunteers swarmed the place, kids wanted to get in on it... So we created a membership base so that we could effectively communicate with all these dog lovers. We launched the Junior Clubbers and got kids to start promoting dogs. A Charity Case programme was formed to recruit and sponsor hard up cases.

The Situation
Old, ugly and unpopular dogs are our raison d’être and sadly, with backyard puppy mills and profit-driven breeders, there's never a shortage of 'tough to sell' dogs in rescues and shelters. The images of abandoned dogs in shelters are common place, and rescues simply do not have the ability to do the much needed marketing of these animals. As a result, TUC (The Underdog Club) stands out as we re-brand our dogs in a new light - re-branding them as indeed worthy and sentient beings with rights and deserving of a new chance.

The Strategy
Our belief is what makes these dogs suck is also what makes them great. The basic strategy is to focus on each dogs shortcomings - these dogs aren't for everyone, and not everyone will see why they are worth saving but the people who do are the people we want. It's that simple.