Canine driven campaign roars to Silver at the Big Cats in Cannes.

The PR Lion to grab us by the paws at Zeelous is the combined efforts of animal-activist group Paw Justice and DDB.

The resulting campaign, Animal Strike, was the answer to the question of “How do we generate the coverage of a big budget above-the-line campaign, without the big budget of an above-the-line campaign?”

With the key goal being to persuade the New Zealand government to amend the law, DDB focused their energy on converting the 72.3% of those surveyed (that didn’t support the law), into signatures on an official petition.

How did they do it?

DDB took note of the proverbial – you really don’t know what you’ve got until its gone.
Instead of producing a stereotypical animal rights campaign with the all to familiar faint violin; Animal Strike tapped into social trends and took away what we as a human race cannot get enough of – animal content.

The innovative use of social media and community sharing exploded the reach and impressions. Through collaboration with local media, Google, Youtube and several websites, Animal Strike was able to block everything from ‘lol cats’ to ‘dancing dogs’ – all from a mere $5000 investment. Engagement was further encouraged and tracked through offering the public a toolkit to block their own animal content in protest from the Animal Strike website.

Why is this the standout 2014 Winner at Cannes for Zeelous?

Campaigns are (sadly) frequently governed by two key principles in today’s industry:

– Creativity for the sake of being creative

– ROI conquers all

Pushing creative boundaries is a positive thing, often defying meanings or challenging perceptions, who would have ever associated surfing with stout without strong creative? (Yet another Guinness reference courtesy of Zeelous).

However too often we see creativity for the sake of bring creative, often loosing relevance and meaning altogether along the way. Burlington Socks’ 2014 campaign features several examples of ill conceived attempts at staying ahead of the curve creatively through dark humour.

Animal Strike triumphed at being creative – in reverse! Instead of giving the public something new, shiny and edgy to digest; DDB was creative without generating new content. Raising awareness by utilising social platforms in this way is rarely possible other than with charity as the product; however through this ingenious interpretation of social trends, DDB allowed local media to host the above-the-line campaign for them. Charity or not, that is being creative.

Secondly it seems that ROI seems to dictate campaigns today. We have unfortunately stopped asking ourselves “why can’t that be done?” and “has somebody done that already?” in favour of asking “Will this channel provide as great ROI as the previous?” and “Is this idea too risky to provide a required 200% ROI?”. Zeelous understands that ROI management is integral in every aspect of marketing but the idea should always shine through

The benefit that Paw Justice had was being a charitable organisation inherently limits the budget and media spend of an awareness campaign. It is through this factor that DDB were able to use collaboration with key media offering the campaign a more organic and trustworthy feel. The story was being reported on local news and across websites that the public trusted, which provides Animal Strike with coverage they couldn’t of predicted (resulting in 350% more signatures on the petition that predicted) within a dimension that money can’t buy.

Do you know why this campaign won a Cannes PR Lion? Because it has achieved something numerous campaigns of late are quick to forget. Instead of managing public relations, through innovative use of social and community, Paw Justice and DDB New Zealand related to the public.

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