Vet-Stem helps man's best friend

Just because your pet pooch can't complain, doesn't mean his or her arthritis is any less painful.

Just because your pet pooch can't complain, doesn't mean his or her arthritis is any less painful.

Founded in 2002, Vet-Stem holds exclusive rights to fat-derived stem cell therapy in veterinary medicine.
San Diego agency Bailey Gardiner (BG) teamed up with Vet-Stem to build a campaign – combining traditional media relations with blogger outreach – to drive pet-owner interest and motivate veterinarians to sign up for online credentialing courses in canine fat stem cell therapy.

Strategy
“Our main goal was to make consumers more aware of the options they have for animals with arthritis pain, driving consumers to inquire with their vets,” says Indra Gardiner, COO of BG.

This included blogger outreach to create a viral effect among consumers and drive media interest, while also pitching national outlets.

“The PR strategy to target national media simultaneously with top dog and pet bloggers gave us high searchability online, targeted messages within a very important niche market, and massive exposure across all markets,” adds Julie Ryan Johnson, VP of sales and marketing at Vet-Stem.

Tactics
“We reached out to influential pet bloggers to bring awareness to dog owners and pet enthusiasts across the nation, pitched national media... and also drilled into major regional dailies and TV,” Gardiner says.

BG wrote a consumer-friendly press release; developed a press kit with a company backgrounder, timeline, and case studies; created targeted lists and pitches; and assisted in the planning, production, and filming of b-roll for TV and online, Gardiner adds.

The team pitched national media and bloggers simultaneously, and launched regional outreach once national media was secured. It also hit top relevant bloggers by e-mailing a short, hyperlinked paragraph.

BG also posted video profiles on sharing sites using TubeMogul and lined up one-on-ones for Vet-Stem executives with national media at vet industry conferences.

Results
“Having nearly 1,300 vets sign up within the first eight months exceeded our expectations and built a solid network of vets across the nation,” Johnson says.

This represented a double-digit percent growth per month. Of those, 650 have finished credentialing and more than 1,180 canines received the therapy.

The initiative was also successful in garnering top national media hits from various outlets, including Nightline, The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet, CBS News, ABC News print and online, USA Today, Time, Time.com, New York Post, New York's Times Herald-Record, New York Daily News, Dog Fancy, and The Washington Post. It was also featured in numerous blogs, such as Pet Connection, Los Angeles Times' LA Unleashed, dolittler.com, and more.

Future
BG will work with Vet-Stem in promoting stem cell research and therapies to various bloggers and national media, focusing on specialized pitches.

PRWeek View
They say that a man's best friend is a dog. But a sick dog's best friend is his owner's cares and concerns.

Probably not many knew stem-cell therapies were available for animal ailments. By merging traditional media relations with a blogger campaign, this effort ensured that thousands in mainstream and niche audiences found out about the treatment and where they could find it.

That means these pet owners who spend a lot on their family companions were sure to pass along this important information – compelling veterinarians to take part to keep their clientele happy.

PR team: Vet-Stem (Poway, CA) and Bailey Gardiner (San Diego)

Campaign: Vet-Stem: K-9 Stem Cell Therapy Launch

Duration: January-July 2008

Budget: $58,000

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