FCB Revamps Shelter Pet Project PSA Campaign

Since its inception in 2009, The Shelter Pet Project has worked to lift public perception of animal shelters and shelter pets, helping drive down the number of pets who lose their lives in shelters by 12%. However, 2.7 million healthy or treatable pets still need to find a home each year.

Many campaigns about shelter animals communicate a “damaged” pet perception, evoking feelings of guilt and sadness in the viewer. The Shelter Pet Project sought to break through this fear and uncertainty by focusing on the great outcomes and positive experiences of adopting from a shelter or rescue. FCB Chicago was tasked with changing awareness and empathy to actual shelter pet adoptions, all while emphasizing that shelter pets make great companions.

FCB Chicago took a playful approach to breaking down shelter pet adoption barriers in the new PSAs by showcasing the individual personalities of real-life adopted shelter dogs and cats. In the spots, pets playfully lick and paw at screens seemingly in an effort to reach pet lovers on the other side. The campaign even includes an interactive website where visitors can virtually meet and play with pets from the PSAs, emphasizing the campaign’s message that "the only way to find out how amazing shelter pets really are is to meet one."

The television, radio, print, outdoor and digital PSAs were distributed to 33,000 media outlets and drive traffic to www.theshelterpetproject.org. Here potential adopters are able to take the next steps toward adoption by searching for a pet from a local shelter or rescue group, reading adoption success stories, virtually interacting with pets and learning valuable information about pet adoption.

The day the campaign launched, social engagement sky rocketed. The campaign was covered in general interest publications, advertising trades and animal blogs, reaching an audience of nearly 75.5 million.

Following the launch, the campaign’s website, www.theshelterpetproject.org saw a 75% increase in site traffic and the number of people using its Pet Finder tool increased by almost 5,000 per week. The Shelter Pet Project’s message has been further amplified via donated media. As of April 2014, the TV spots had played nearly 7,500 times, radio spots had played about 7,100 times, and 200 billboards had been placed. The campaign was even named the victor in the Ad Council’s March ADness competition.

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