Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.

Describe your Webby-nominated project. What’s the elevator pitch?

It can be hard on parents when their kids leave home. So, we created the Pedigree Child Replacement Programme—a service that pairs abandoned dogs with abandoned parents.

Why this particular cause as the subject of your project/campaign? Was there a moment that inspired it?

Pedigree believes that dogs bring out the best in us, so their purpose is to make the world a better place for dogs. One key pillar of that is finding homes for rescue dogs which is often hard because many people want a puppy. We identified empty nesters as a group of people who could genuinely benefit from having a dog, but that would also appreciate one that had already grown up and didn’t need as much training or energy. Essentially slotting them into the void left behind by the kids and helping them both live happier lives.

What concerns were there about pursuing this idea? How did you get past them?

Our challenges were two-fold: Adoption campaigns are quite sombre, and we didn’t want adopting a dog to feel stigmatised. And NZ shelters weren’t joined up on one system and digital wasn’t the main channel for adoption enquiries. For solutions, we took a fresh approach to the campaign, focussing on empowering the parents at the expense of the kids who had left. It was funny and engaging and parents and children loved and talked about it. We also resorted to old-fashioned hard graft and gave all of the shelters the option to have their dogs added simply and easily to the CRP website manually if necessary.

What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project? What did you learn in the process that you didn't know/expect going into it?

We learned a lot. We learned that parents are fickle. Children are protective. And dogs are wonderful. And that insight, craft, and true integration can change a brand. By changing a functional adoption drive message into a personal humorous cause, we found that the Child Replacement Programme could not only connect people with dogs, but could alter the importance of dogs in the minds of people. That, coupled with the craft and tirelessness of treating every channel like a new opportunity, allowed us to create a platform that was greater than the sum of its parts and was truly rewarding.

What real-world impact were you hoping to make with this project? Did the real-world impact meet your expectations?

As well as having a considerable real-world effect on sales for the brand (16% uplift)—which was welcome considering the campaign said nothing at all about the products—we saw a genuine uplift in dog adoption enquiries nationwide, and within the first six weeks had generated the same number of enquiries to shelters as had occurred in the previous two years. That was an 824% uplift in enquiries which meant loads of empty nesters who needed dogs and loads of dogs who needed homes, finding each other.

Did your team have a specific “breakthrough” or “a-ha” moment while formulating or executing this project?

The main a-ha moment was the realization that there was an untapped and genuine, relevant audience we hadn’t been speaking to in order to find homes for dogs who needed them. Providing things that people want/need is far better than trying to make people need or want things so it was a revelation. The second breakthrough was realizing that we could use every medium to present the idea/message in a new and much more appropriate way which gave us one of the most truly integrated platforms out there.

Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?

The insight behind the Child Replacement Program resonated so quickly that it left us free to use each medium for what it did best. We entertained with funny, sentimental stories on television, employed nostalgic family photos to create simple hooks in our print. It let us keep the website focused on matching abandoned parents with the perfect replacement dog.

What was the most significant challenge that arose during your work on this?

Always the biggest challenge with Pedigree Adoption Drive projects is connecting people with shelter dogs in real-time and at scale. Adopting a dog is a very personal decision. The website needed to be presenting matches from a constantly changing, live pool of available rescue dogs across many different shelters with a range of record systems.

How will you use technology in future work to create inspiring, cutting-edge projects that also make a difference in people’s lives?

The Child Replacement Program, and the human truth that inspired it, are sticking around. The great thing about a program like this one is that it’s separate from the campaign that promotes it. We’ll continue to look for emotional and innovative ways to promote the program as well as live Pedigree’s purpose—to make the world a better place for dogs.

Credits

  • Creative Chairman Nick Worthington Colenso BBDO
  • Creative Group Head, Art Director Andre Sallowicz Colenso BBDO
  • Creative Group Head, Copywriter Simon Vicars Colenso BBDO
  • Group Business Director Ahmad Salim Colenso BBDO
  • Business Director Abbi Barker Colenso BBDO
  • Account Manager Alice Sopwith Colenso BBDO
  • PR & Activation Paul Gunn Colenso BBDO
  • Marketing Director Oliver Downs Mars NZ
  • Marketing Manager, Pet Cormac van den Hoofdakker Mars NZ
  • Brand Manager Maria Granados Mars NZ
  • Media agency Starcom NZ
  • Business Director, PR Agency Mark Delvin Impact PR
  • Experience Design Director Tim Freeman Colenso BBDO
  • Digital Producer Will Thorrat Colenso BBDO
  • Design Director Dean Pomfrett Colenso BBDO
  • User Experience Architect Craig Thompson Colenso BBDO
  • Lead Developer David Arcus Colenso BBDO
  • Front-end Developer Alex Krivenko Colenso BBDO
  • Senior Product and Experience Emma Tait Colenso BBDO
  • Senior Producer Serena Fountain-Jones Colenso BBDO
  • Photographer Will Bailey Colenso BBDO
  • Senior Mac Op Jodi Davis Colenso BBDO
  • Retoucher Reks Kok Colenso BBDO
  • Head of Broadcast Jen Storey Colenso BBDO
  • Production Company Exit Films
  • Production Company Producer Declan Cahill Exit Films
  • Director Adam Gunser Exit Films
  • Sound Design Franklin Road
  • Colourist Pete Ritchie
  • Post Production Creature

About the Best Cause Related Campaign category

Online campaigns that effectively raised awareness for a specific social or political cause.