PR team: Cow PR
Timescale: May-July 2010
Boomerang, the animal-themed cartoon TV channel, hosted its second Boomerang Pets Party in Regent's Park on 24 July.
Despite free admission, footfall and awareness was lower than anticipated in the previous year, so Boomerang brought in Cow PR to provide a PR boost, raise awareness and encourage attendance, particularly among families with dogs.
- To increase footfall to the event
- To create a stunt that had humour and family appeal
- To communicate the party as a pet-friendly event
- To get the Boomerang Pets Party branding in coverage.
Strategy and plan
The idea was to create something simple that had strong visual appeal and incorporated pets. The team brainstormed around British summer traditions and considered how they could provide a dog-focused twist. For a pet-friendly festival, providing bowls of water seemed a little uninspired, so the idea came about for the first ice cream van for dogs - the K99.
Cow hired an ice cream van and had it wrapped in dog iconography such as paw prints and bones, as well as Boomerang branding.
The team worked with ice cream specialist La Maison des Sorbets to create two dog-friendly, soya rather than dairy-based, ice cream flavours - Canine Cookie Crunch (made with dog biscuit) and Dog Eat Hog World (chicken and gammon flavour).
A photoshoot was set up using the van and two Great Danes, plus a Cow account executive posing as a 'poocher scooper'.
One week before the event, pictures and a press release were sent to target press, online and broadcast media, with opportunities for filming with the van and to sample the ice cream.
The team also managed a radio drop to major breakfast show presenters to sample the product. Online, the team targeted family, dog and pet-related tweeters.
The ice cream van appeared on the day at the Boomerang Pets Party so dogs could try it for themselves.
Donations made by owners for a cone went to Berkshire Search & Rescue Dogs.
Measurement and evaluation
In total, the campaign generated 175 pieces of coverage. Highlights included a two-minute item on News At Ten, a feature on The One Show, where food writer Jay Rayner sampled the ice cream with three dogs, BBC Breakfast, This Morning, Newsround, the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Metro, The Times, First News, Time Out, LA Times, Advertising Age and national TV news in the US (ABC), China (CNTN) and Germany (RTL). Chris Evans at BBC Radio 2, Jamie Theakston at Heart FM and Johnny Vaughan at Capital Radio all featured it on their breakfast shows. The story and photographs were retweeted more than 300 times by users of Twitter.
The event attracted more than 5,000 people and hundreds of dogs. Visitor numbers were up 800 per cent compared with 2009.
Tallulah Cullen, Account director, Cow PR
The success of K99 and the Boomerang Pets Party campaign came down to a fantastic execution and a brilliantly simple idea that resonated with the media and the public and was perfect for the time of year.
The event was billed as a pets' party, so if we had just provided bowls of water for dogs, we would have missed a trick. With this in mind, we began brainstorming around the quintessential elements of a traditional British summer, one of which is ice cream vans. And with the UK's love for dogs, giving this summer icon a quirky canine twist seemed like the logical choice.
The story of an ice cream van for dogs gained momentum very quickly and before the Boomerang Pets Party event had even begun, the K99 had been all over the world and back again. The results that we generated were beyond our wildest expectations, especially on what was a relatively modest budget.
Media interest was sustained throughout the month of July and well beyond the event. It encompassed national and international news, consumer media, children's media, blogs, radio and trade.
This was all aided by a brilliant visual element to the campaign. The van was designed to be colourful and instantly recognisable as an ice cream van, while also ensuring the client's branding was clear throughout. The photography, too, taken on a beautiful summer's day in London, brought the idea to life perfectly.
It is without a doubt one of the most successful campaigns to be produced by Cow and it was an absolute pleasure to be part of it.
The campaign resulted in more than 5,000 people attending the party. This represents an 800 per cent increase in footfall on the previous year
- The activity produced in excess of £1.2m of advertising value
- It achieved 175 pieces of branded coverage across TV channel Boomerang's key markets worldwide
- Attendance to the main Boomerang website increased 35 per cent over the month following the campaign.