Animal Planet kicks off nonprofit advocacy push

SILVER SPRING, MD: In what one representative called "a coming of age" for Animal Planet, the cable TV network has launched a nonprofit advocacy campaign to raise awareness and funds for animal issues around the world.

SILVER SPRING, MD: In what one representative called "a coming of age" for Animal Planet, the cable TV network has launched a nonprofit advocacy campaign to raise awareness and funds for animal issues around the world.

Animal Planet ROAR - Reach Out. Act. Respond. - formally partners the Discovery Communications-owned network with the American Humane Association, the World Wildlife Fund, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Earthwatch Institute, among other nonprofits.

With each partner, the network will focus on a single cause to "raise that issue to the forefront of consumers' minds," said Zoe Paglee, Animal Planet's marketing and partnerships manager.

The campaign kicked off last week in LA with a fundraising soiree featuring costumed pooches and celebrity-decorated pet carriers, the latter to be auctioned off on behalf of ROAR charities. Spotlight Communications, the network's AOR, pitched national consumer and entertainment magazines and TV outlets for the launch and campaign, getting The Ellen DeGeneres Show and others to cover the fundraiser. In addition, Paglee noted, partner organizations reached out to targeted animal rights, conservation, and "earth-watch and eco-conservation" media. Other initiatives include a PSA and an employee volunteer day on November 1.

The network also put a lot of emphasis on its ROAR micro site, www.animalplanet.com/ ROAR, which aims to serve as an online community and resource for information about animal-support opportunities - from the importance of spaying/neutering to protecting endangered species.

The multi-year, multi-pronged initiative comes as Animal Planet celebrates its 10th anniversary, said Patricia Kollappallil, VP of communications. While the network has "always participated in nonprofit partnerships," she said, the ROAR campaign "is a way to raise the profile of efforts we already do and up the ante... to strategically take [Animal Planet] into the next decade and to the next level."

Since its October 1996 debut, the network has catered to animal enthusiasts and those concerned with natural resources.

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