CAMPAIGN: Japanese 'dog crafting' creates a stir in Britain

Last year, publisher Mitchell Beazley, part of Octopus Publishing, bought the UK rights to quirky Japanese book Fleece Dog. The book describes the art of 'dog crafting' - where miniature versions of hounds are created out of their own hair.

Campaign Fleece Dog
Client Mitchell Beazley
PR team Frank PR
Timescale October-November 2006
Budget Less than £10,000

The craze first swept Japan when the first edition of the book was printed in 2003.

Mitchell Beazley has its own in-house PR team, but brought in Frank to promote Fleece Dog to Britain's one million dog owners, telling them how they could immortalise their furry friends through the art of dog crafting.

The target audience also included housewives looking for extra pastimes to while away the day.

Objectives
To generate coverage on mainstream news pages and daytime TV, and position Fleece Dog author Sinco as a master artist. To maximise sales of the book and kick-start a dog-crafting craze in the UK.

Strategy and Plan
Media were invited to a masterclass with Sinco, who taught dog-owning journalists how to create their own Fleece Dog.

To emphasise the Japanese theme and build authenticity and intrigue, Sinco spoke to the students in her native tongue, with a translator in attendance.

In a bid to generate online coverage and discussions on websites and blogs, Sinco crafted a set of canines resembling those belonging to celebrities - including Paul O'Grady, Geri Halliwell and Paris Hilton - as well as models of the Queen's Corgis. These were all auctioned on eBay, with the proceeds going to Battersea Dogs Home. Frank then targeted websites, blogs and forums for dog owners.

Finally, Sinco made replicas of the dogs of Jonathan Ross, Sara Cox, and Johnny Vaughn, and sent them to the hosts' respective shows.

Measurement and Evaluation
Print coverage included national newspapers such as Metro, Daily Mail and The Guardian, and magazines such as Chat and Dogs Today. Broadcast highlights included This Morning, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross and The Paul O'Grady Show.

Online coverage included bbc.co.uk, The Sun Online, Beautyandthedirt, Sky News, Dogster's Blog, Excite, fashion site fuk.co.uk, Handbag.co.uk, Yahoo! and Guardian Unlimited.

Results
The Daily Mail alone brought four of its dog-owning columnists - Roy Hattersley, Julia Carling, Emma Forbes and Quentin Letts - to the Sinco masterclass.

The dog doppelgängers were discussed on all of the prime-time chat shows listed above. In addition, the book and the models appeared on more than 500 websites, with many pet owners displaying their own Fleece Dogs.

On the day of London Metro's coverage, a major book chain called to order 4,000 copies of Fleece Dog. Sales were further boosted by an order from the US for 25,000 copies. In total, the book exceeded sales targets by 500 per cent.

Metro rep­orter Jo Steele says: ‘I don't have a dog, but I went to the masterclass with a photographer and made a replica of his. It was a fun day - although everything had to be translated. Everyone at work loved the story - it was all very Metro.'

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