To reinforce itself as the authority on the subject of purebred dogs and show the benefits of registering your dog with the organization, the American Kennel Club (AKC) decided to use proprietary data to create news, knowing that the surveys and lists are a big draw for the media.
"The obvious thing was our registration statistics," says Daisy Okas, assistant VP of communications for the AKC.
Each year, the AKC puts out a list of the most popular dog breeds in the nation, based on its registration data. "This year was really a big opportunity because the Yorkshire terrier was in second place, beating out the iconic German shepherd and golden retriever," Okas noted. The AKC had promoted the data in previous years, but wanted to take the results to the next level, targeting both local and national media.
To blow up the news, the AKC came up with the idea of a press conference, including a photo opportunity with the crowning Labrador retriever and Yorkshire terrier. Rubenstein PR, which the AKC has on a monthly retainer, helped with New York City media at the press conference. The AKC also customized press releases for 50 cities because "it was the best way to localize the story," says Okas.
The campaign received national and local coverage, including The New York Times, where it was the most e-mailed story for two straight days. The day coverage hit, traffic to the AKC Web site doubled. In addition, the 2006 registration statistics article in the AKC's e-newsletter generated more than six times as many click-throughs as an average story.
Because the list is very stagnant year to year, the AKC hopes to be able to point out trends from the bigger list of 155 breeds if not again from the top 10.
American Kennel Club
PR team: American Kennel Club (New York)
Campaign: AKC registration statistics campaign
Duration: November 2006 to January 2007