PET TRAINING A CITY
Public relations and advertising often merge in the execution of a social marketing strategy. When the City of San Antonio set upon a goal of reducing the use of euthanasia in animal control, esd won a competitive RFP process (from a field of 15) to create and manage the campaign.
forming an alliance to care
Mayor Phil Hardberger assembled a Consortium of Partners representing corporate and community leaders throughout the city, including public sector and non-profit animal shelter and pet enthusiast organizations. The Consortium set a goal to make San Antonio a “No Kill” city by 2012. Working with the Consortium, esd devised the OwnUp campaign to raise awareness and lead the community toward pet responsibility.
teaching pet responsibility
Proper care of your pet extends beyond feeding and petting. Before they adopt, people need to understand and accept the responsibility of pet ownership:
- making sure the pet stays immunized
- keeping the pet confined to your premises (or on a leash while walking)
- spaying/neutering the pet to prevent unwanted litters.
a brand to capture attention
esd gave the campaign a brand – OwnUp – that encourages the city to accept responsibility. We communicated the brand through billboards and other media featuring well-known community figures like Mayor Hardberger, Spurs CEO Peter Holt and former Spurs player Sean Elliot.
public events to kick off awareness
esd’s public relations effort, using our “community collaboration” strategy, to solicit participation by the Spurs, SeaWorld Texas, WellMed Medical Group, animal shelters and animal advocacy groups. During the kick-off year, esd staged a number of high-profile events that attracted valuable news coverage:
- Pet food manufacturer Pedigree sponsored Pucks n Paws, a San Antonio Rampage hockey match, and Hoops and Hounds, a Spurs game, the first major sports events to invite owners to bring their pets to the game
- Local animal advocacy groups initiated adoption and low-cost (or free) immunization and neutering clinics at shopping areas throughout San Antonio – these popular efforts have continued well past the kick-off campaign
- WellMed Medical Group began offering free pets to seniors, compensating local shelters for providing immunizations and neutering
- AAPAW promoted a citywide “Cat Crawl” featuring special family activities at a number of area animal shelters, with entertainment, cat-toy crafts, a poster contest held in local schools and 1/2 price adoptions sponsored by WellMed
- National bestselling author and No Kill expert Nathan Winogrand led a well-attended community forum
- PrideFestSA 2008 worked in conjunction with Animal Care Services for adoptions and awareness at the HemisFair Park festival
a measurable increase in awareness
Within nine months, Core Research demonstrated a 32 percent aggregate increase in public awareness. OwnUp SA continues, with a dramatic decrease in stray animal collections and euthanasia of unwanted animals. San Antonio has become a more responsible, more humane city just by “owning up.”