Challenges & Objectives:
Help the Austin Humane Society brand stand out among the dozens of Austin-area shelters.
Increase donations in the midst of a recession.
Increase animal adoptions.
Educate the community about the shelter’s various educational, support and health initiatives.
Strategy & Execution:
Rather than the typical approach of relying on fear and guilt to motivate adoptions and donations, we focused on the animal’s personalities, the lifelong bond and emotional connection between pet and owner, as well as the impact animals and people have on each other. The new brand positioning stems from the idea of transforming lives, both human and pet, and from there, we created the tagline and rallying cry: “Unleash Hope.”
We then developed custom online tools to showcase the pets, highlighting aspects of their character, personality traits, habits and special tricks. We also recruited over 100 Austin-based bands to donate songs which we matched with animals to better reveal their personalities. And in order to provide an entertaining and educational glimpse into the population-reducing benefits of feral cat trapping, we also created an online game called Trapcat!
Another key component of the campaign was a series of four humorous videos we produced featuring animals speaking with each other about the various needs, perceptions and misperceptions about shelter animals. These videos continue to be distributed internationally via video sharing sites and pet blogs, and will also air on television.
30% increase in monthly adoptions, year-over-year, as of May 2010.
100% increase in holiday donations, year-over-year.
Online donations have nearly doubled since the campaign launched.
The new AHS website is being sited as an industry model by the national pet adoption software, PetPoint.