Describe any restrictions or regulations regarding Healthcare communications in your country/region (imposed by healthcare regulatory bodies, government, TV stations, etc.)
It is not allowed to advertise medicine apart from OTC medicine.
Doctors and health practitioners are also not allowed to advertise as well.
Describe the target audience
Dog lovers who believe that shelter dogs can't be disciplined and can't be taught anything new. For them shelter dogs are like a second-hand toy with no batteries. They usually go for pure-breed dogs from fancy pet shops where animals come with a tag and a how-to-use booklet.
Animal activists in the UAE were dealing with an unprecedented dumping spree as a record number of pets have been left to fend for themselves (Gulf News). Every Dubai and Abu Dhabi animal shelter are picking 20 to 30 dogs from the street on a weekly basis (Khaleej Times).
These animals are usually in bad shape and their future goes from gloomy to gloomier. Once “rescued”, shelters become their reality, and their chances of being adopted go from small to nearly impossible.
Animal shelters in the UAE were overbooked which meant that animals who would not get adopted within 72 hours would be sent to the ‘death room’. Forcing UAE’s animal shelters to euthanize innocent homeless dogs.
Sniff, a UAE non-profit animal rescue organization, was suffering the same fate. As a no kill animal rescue organization, Sniff desperately needed to find homes for its neglected dogs.
Describe the creative idea
Shelter dogs were not being adopted as people believed they can’t be disciplined. We set to prove them wrong with the most relevant context.
Football is the most popular sport in the UAE (Dubai.com). Watching football is a wide-spread hobby amongst residents. Cafes and bars get packed when football games are on. This is particularly true during the world’s most anticipated game between Barcelona and Real-Madrid: El-Clasico.
We brought Air Bud, a Disney dog who plays football, to life. This time to play for, you guessed it, El-Clasico.
We styled the 6th oldest Sniff dogs as iconic players like Luis Suarez, Thibaut Courtois Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and did the unimaginable: we taught them football tricks. That wasn't unimaginable? Fair. We turned the dogs into professional football stars and engaged them in a four-legged El-Clasico for the world to see; and cheer for.
Describe the strategy
90% of shelter dogs do not find homes in the UAE (Emirates 24/7). People falsely believe that rescue dogs cannot be taught the simplest of things such as not chewing on their own feet, going up and down the stairs, and playing with toys (The Dog People).
Sniff was struggling and was booked beyond capacity and couldn’t accept any more animals in. That’s why we decided to challenge this wrongly established belief.
We set out to prove that shelter dogs can be as good as bought dogs – if not better.
Knowing the UAE is flooded with FC Barcelona and Real-Madrid fans, with their respective Supporters’ Clubs presence and even personal cafes and football schools, we took El-Clasico, their legendary matchup, as our main point of focus. Our GOAAAL! was to show that like their avid owners, dogs can learn to love their preferred teams and even play for them.
Describe the execution
We didn’t force our club preference on the dogs. They chose freely. Three signed for Barcelona, three penned deals with Real-Madrid.
The dogs were prepped by professional dog trainers. Sitting when the whistle blows, barking when a goal is scored, giving their paw for “fair play”… The rescue dogs became zealous
We created a video introducing the line-ups and tricks learnt. We posted it on Sniff YouTube and Facebook channels. The video contained plenty of in-jokes about the real Clasico players' styles, characteristics and moves. We created Instagram stories introducing both Football Dog Clubs until the anticipated El-Clasico.
As the official lineups of the actual El-Clasico game were announced, we posted a video of our furry athletes’ pre-game rituals. During the game, we launched live-reaction GIFs featuring our pawed players reacting to it.
List the results
Clasico dogs were scouted by many, prior to El-Clasico. They were no longer pity dogs, but celebrities everyone wants to be friends with. The social GIFs received 102K organic retweets and likes. The introductory video was shared 592 times in 2 weeks. The behind-the-scenes video was shared 147 times on the matchday.
El-Clasico ended 3-3. Barcelona’s Busy, Ella, and Shiro were adopted within few hours. Real-Madrid’s Lucca, Riley, and Isa finally found warm homes.
Sniff’s call-center, received 273% increase in adoption inquiries.
Sniff’s online mentions increased by 943% in two weeks. Its positive online sentiment grew 87%.
Overall Campaign popularity:
Our campaign earned free coverage and industry recognition from esteemed global marketing media like AdAge commending Clasico Dogs playful approach to tackle a serious topic. The news of our Sniff activation traveled beyond the region, reaching puppy lovers in the land of football, Brazil.