In late 2006, Austin citizens approved a $12 million plan to build a city-funded facility for the Town Lake Animal Center. Trouble arose when a number of groups voiced opposition to the move, saying the new shelter would be in an undesirable area of town. They went as far as filing a lawsuit against the city.
The city then decided to put the matter back to vote and ASPCA hired Vollmer PR to bolster support.
With only a month until the vote, the PR team designed a strategic media plan focused on spreading the word that most local animal welfare professionals supported the move. Vollmer aimed to secure support from the local community and city officials for the upcoming vote.
"The hard facts showed how the relocation would help the animals," says Shonali Burke, VP of media and communications for ASPCA, adding that the group had conducted research as to the best location for the facility. "It's sort of difficult to argue with that stuff."
The PR team focused its messaging on Austin residents concerned with animal welfare, animal rescue workers, city council members, city officials, and the media. To quickly reach a large number of people, it worked to secure an Op-Ed in the Austin American-Statesman, and distributed fliers around the city.
"The Op-Ed was the most influential piece of the campaign," says Peggy Hubble, EVP at Vollmer.
The team secured numerous media placements throughout the Austin region, which helped contribute to the council's 6-to-1 favorable vote.
The ASPCA and Vollmer continue to work together for the ongoing ASPCA Mission: Orange campaign, which supports programs that reduce the euthanasia of shelter animals.
PR team: ASPCA (New York) and Vollmer PR (Austin)
Campaign: ASPCA Mission: Orange - Town Lake Animal Center Relocation Program
Duration: September 14- October 11, 2007