Consumer: Worming brand finds pet superstars

Bayer Animal Health asked Pegasus to create a PR-led campaign to increase consumer awareness and market share for Drontal, its domestic pet worming brand.

My Pet Superstar: nationwide competition
My Pet Superstar: nationwide competition

Campaign Drontal's My Pet Superstar
Client Bayer Animal Health
PR team Pegasus
Timescale September 2010-February 2011
Budget £40,000

OBJECTIVES

  • To increase consumer familiarity with the brand and drive sales of the product
  • To communicate the message that a happy cat or dog makes a happy owner.

STRATEGY AND PLAN

Pegasus conducted research into the attitudes of 3,000 pet owners and found a growing trend for 'pet humanisation', with pets being treated as extended members of the family. A media audit showed there were limited opportunities for animal health coverage, but a big appetite for inspirational and amusing pet stories on the news pages and online. Additional social media research found that pet owners regularly go online to share information, stories and advice about their pets.

The PR team decided to launch a nationwide online competition for dogs and cats in the style of a TV talent show. 'My Pet Superstar' would give pet owners the opportunity to show off their pets.

A Drontal-branded competition website was set up, and users were encouraged to upload photos and videos of their pets and include a 100-word explanation about why their dog or cat should win. An application was also put on the website's voting system, which allowed voters to change their Facebook profile picture to an image of their favourite pet, to boost traffic to the site.

The website offered expert advice on how to care for your pet and emphasised the importance of worming your pet regularly using Drontal. These messages were also sent to entrants via regular emails, which encouraged them to ask friends and family to vote.

A celebrity judging panel was set up comprising TV vet Emma Milne and winner of BBC One's I'd Do Anything, Jodie Prenger, who were offered for interviews.

Pegasus also recruited the best competition entries as media case studies.

Media partnerships with Your Dog and Your Cat magazines were also negotiated.

MEASUREMENT AND EVALUATION

The campaign achieved more than 180 pieces of coverage, including in the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent. It also achieved 33 items of broadcast coverage including on ITV's Daybreak, BBC Radio 5 Live and eight BBC regional radio stations. There were 58 items of online coverage and 17 case studies were placed in high circulating women's weeklies in features on happy and healthy pets.

RESULTS

The My Pet Superstar competition received 6,189 entries and 265,515 votes. It received 79,000 Facebook 'likes' and mypetsuperstar.com had 153,167 visitors. On average the website was visited 11 times by each applicant and more than a third of respondents clicked through to the Drontal website for more information about worming their pet. Consumer research analysis of the participants indicated that a third had switched brands to Drontal since the start of the campaign.

SECOND OPINION - SARAH HALTON, DIRECTOR, TANGERINE PR

On the face of it the mechanic seems a wee bit obvious. However, I totally agree that national newspapers aren't generally interested in pet health stories, unless it's the latest cat/dog/rabbit photo.

So the team had to look at a more fun way of getting the brand mentioned and raising awareness of this topic.

What is immediately clear is that they got great results in terms of quantity of media coverage. From a bit of searching online I can see that the team achieved some great national brand mentions, especially via the case studies.

They did a fantastic job of securing some great case studies such as Lilly the 'hero' cat who can predict epileptic fits - what a PR dream.

In terms of the overall 'worming/healthy, happy pet' message, as the team identified, the best channel for this was online, and it's good to see the team closed the loop for the campaign by making sure these mechanics were in place to support the education of pet owners.

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