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The Forever Home

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Insight 

In Australia over 400,000 pets are abandoned by their owners each year. What’s worse, 250,000 of these innocent pets are cruelly put down because Australians prefer to buy new ones rather than adopt a rescue animal from an animal shelter.  

The reason that this heartbreaking situation occurs in the first place is that the messages about proper nutrition and care aren’t getting through. The second reason is that Australians think abandoned dogs and cats are ‘damaged goods’, too risky to adopt.  

A terrible cycle, one that currently had limited awareness or hope. If MEC could only find a way to share the stories of how these rescue pets could complete a home and go on to live happy healthy lives, Purina stood a good chance of making a real difference. 

Strategy 

Everybody knows that stories about pets are really engaging. So, why not tell the real stories of Australia’s rescue pets and help change perceptions at the same time? 

The  idea: the Forever Home. In the true spirit of this term, Purina would match willing adopters with the perfect pet to take home for its entire life. It would showcase great stories of the magic that happens when a rescue pet finds the perfect loving family. 

Making a difference is tough work. Purina couldn’t do this alone. By giving an expert face and a reputable association to the project, it would gather greater momentum and stand a better chance of long term success.  

Brand ambassadors are important in bringing credibility and strength to the brand purpose. So in order to drive a shift in perception, the agency would use Purina’s ambassadors to not just talk about adopting abandoned dogs, but to demonstrate it.  

Purina partnered with the Animal Welfare League by bringing together lonely puppies with the families who felt they had something missing. It would find dogs a loving home and give families back that sense of completeness with having found the perfect pet.  

It would also bring in expert advice in the form of Dr. Lisa Chimes and combine it with Purina's own knowledge to make sure it found each family the ideal match and give them the right advice and support – everything they needed to make the relationship with their loving pet a long and happy one. 

Standing up for the welfare of Australian animals would allow Purina to form a connection with pet owners that goes above and beyond ‘just another pet food’. It would be standing true to its purpose and standing up for Australia’s pets. 

Execution 

No standard advertising format can hope to get across the emotion and connection that happens when the perfect pet meets the perfect owners. So, MEC invented Purina's own: A money-can’t-buy free-to-air broadcast TV series.  

The idea was so powerful that the number one TV network in Australia grabbed it with both hands – in fact 10 x 30 minute episodes called ‘Dr. Lisa to the Rescue’. It gave it a premier timeslot on Saturday afternoon and whole section of the online catch up platform with additional webisodes with deeper Purina branded health and nutrition and care of pets’ content. 

In each episode, Dr Lisa finds and fits an abandoned dog to a new home. The homes have varying lifestyles, ranging from a grieving couple looking to replace a beloved pet, to a large family excited to own a dog for the first time. It would be a must-match of personalities and places, people and pets. Along the way, she would provide tips and guidance on pet care and proper set-up to ensure a happy home.  

The agency secured rights to exclusive behind the scenes content to be used in online video, targeted across the Mi9 network using advanced data mining techniques to target dog owners. Dr Lisa presented factual clips, answering the top questions raised by Purina’s community of dog owners, all designed to raise the status and profile of the Purina masterbrand 

Australia got to see first-hand just how viable and rewarding it is to adopt an abandoned dog. 

Results 

• Increased audience for the TV timeslot of 35% vs previous shows  

• More than a million adults embraced the content –over 400,000 hours of viewing across the series! 

• The AWL adoption website received a 30% increase in traffic – its best winter ever. 

In terms of brand engagement, 82% of all visits arriving to watch the long-form content have spent additional time communing with and around the Purina brand. 

370,000+ people have so far been reached through Facebook and hundreds of thousands have watched the shows on catch-up services online. This clever use of owned assets is taking the Purina brand to new heights without investing above and beyond the production packages.  

The show has been syndicated globally, with deals already in place to air in New Zealand and Thailand. And, of course, the quest for animal welfare goes on, and so, a second season is in development – changing the lives of Australia’s pets.  

This is a classic example of using brand purpose to solve a social issue through storytelling. Smartly deploying a small budget to change perceptions about the brand and, more importantly, ensure some of Australia’s rescue pets find their Forever Homes.

Have Your Say

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Brand:
Purina
Brand Owner:
Nestlé
Category:
Pet Care
Region:
Australia
date:
July - September 2015
Agency:
MEC
Media Channel:
Branded Content,Online,TV
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