Company: Pumpkin Pet Insurance
Agency partners: DVM Communications
Duration: January 17, 2021
To celebrate Major Biden’s arrival in the White House — marking the first time a shelter dog has moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — Pumpkin Pet Insurance threw an “indoguration” on January 17. The event raised money for the Delaware Humane Association.
Planning for the campaign began in November, following Joe Biden being named U.S. President-elect.
“There was excitement around Major being the first shelter pet to live in the White House,” said Brittany Gbur, an account executive at Dini von Mueffling (DVM) Communications.
The aim was to put together a virtual event on Zoom for dogs and their owners. But the logistics had to come together quickly.
“We were building the airplane as we were flying it,” said Dini von Mueffling, founder and CEO of DVM Communications.
One of the first steps was securing Today show correspondent Jill Martin to emcee the event.
From the beginning, a primary goal was to raise money for the Delaware Humane Association, where Major was adopted from, with a target of $10,000.
Promotion for the event was slated to kick-off on January 6. But following the riot that took place at the Capitol, the team decided to hold all campaign material until two days later.
From there, despite the unrest, things went according to plan. The event was promoted through a press release and on social media. Attendees were given the opportunity to nominate their own dog to join Major’s “cabinet” as “Secretary of Rescue Dogs,” with the winner to be selected by animal advocate and founder of Beaux & Paws Darius Brown.
The indoguration also featured a performance from singer and dog-lover Josh Groban, who learned about the initiative via social media and asked if he could sing an original song during the live stream.
“We were like, ‘Oh I don’t know, we think we could make that happen,’” von Mueffling said.
More than 7,400 people attended the virtual event, while an additional 2,900 watched live on YouTube. The video of the event has since been viewed nearly 100,000 times on the platform.
Altogether, the indoguration raised $202,000 for the Delaware Humane Association, which came from 12,000 individual donors.
More than 800 dogs were nominated to be “Secretary of Rescue Dogs.” From a list of five finalists, Brown selected Harper, a certified therapy dog who was rescued from a kill shelter, to assume the position.
The indoguration generated an avalanche of media interest, appearing in more than 5,000 placements. On social media, the campaign was mentioned in 21,900 posts across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The day of the event, “indoguration” was the #19 trending topic on Twitter in the U.S.
A number of celebrities took notice of the event. Groban, Aubrey Plaza, Naomi Biden and Elizabeth Banks all posted about the campaign on social media.