In my secret life where I am not a “crazy cat lady” I am a trained public relations/advertising/social media professional. Which means I am always looking at the ways different organizations advertise themselves and create awareness campaigns. There is no one trick to getting your message across. People are bombarded by thousands of advertisements a day and only have room for a fraction of those messages to actually stick. It is hard to get your message to stick with the public, it is extra hard when you are a non-profit trying to promote your services or run an awareness campaign. One of my assignments for my last class in my masters program is to create a series of public relations or advertising campaigns for two brands. One of the brands I am working on is the non-profit cat rescue I work with. Which got me looking at other campaigns people have done over the years. I have found some great spay/neuter campaigns and advertisements. So I decided to combine two passions–communication and spay/neuter in this blog.
Below are my top picks for Spay/Neuter PSA (public service announcements), advertisements, or campaigns. These are ones that I saw and said “God, I wish I could have come up with that idea” or “I wish I had been part of that creative team.” Beyond that, I looked at how well they reached what I thought were their target audience. I looked at the “big idea” behind the creative, the ability to stand out from the crowd, and just the creativeness of the piece. There is no research into how well they actually met their target, into demographics of where they were publshed etc. Just based of what I have learned in school, what I have learned working with animals and trying to reach out to the various audiences, and what I have learned from my research trying to communicate the message of nonprofits to the general public.
There are so many out there. I may have to do a second post on honorable mentions. For the time being, look at some of these great works of creative genius. I have posted links to all of the sites where I got the pictures and videos so you can learn more about the organization or the people behind the work.
Seattle Animal Shelter,TREY Creative-“NOT AGAIN”
This is the advertisement that started it all for me, actually. The desire to see what other spay/neuter campaigns were out there. I simply love this advertisement by TREY Creative. This ad is so simple, so straight forward. I am so jealous that I was not one of the minds behind this advertisement. It has a touch of humor, especially for those of us who know how fast cats can get pregnant, yet it does not take anything away from the seriousness of the campaign. It also makes it a little easier, I think, for humans to relate to, with the “purregnancy” test strip. It also does a great job by anthropomorphizing the cat, giving her thoughts that every single rescuer has had upon finding another pregnant cat or litter of kittens. After all, momma cat didn’t choose to get pregnant, she was just following instinct.
SPCA de Montréal–Sexy Cat
I found this on YouTube. I chuckled to myself for quite some time after watching it. This video is a great reminder that it is not just the momma cats you have to worry about. Get those Toms fixed too! The music, the way the cat is laying, his facial expression and the text overlay are, excuse the pun, purrfect. This Tom really does seduce you into wanting to get your cats spayed and neutered. There sheer number of offspring Sultan has fathered are mind boggling, as are the number of partners he has had. It can be a great eye opener for anyone who didn’t realize just what their cats might be getting up to while roaming outside. Don’t let your Tom become a playboy, get him neutered.
PSA American Dog Magazine –“Be a Real Man”
There are several reasons I love this one. First it is so simple, it doesn’t even feature a dog! Which is amazing,. It absolutely would catch the target audience’s attention, talking about being a “real man” and could easily pass as a deodorant, after shave, or alcohol advertisement. Second, it attacks a real problem amongst male dog owners. Some men feel that it would be “wrong” to neuter their dog, they feel they would be doing him a disservice, because it makes them squeamish to think of their own testicles removed or something like that. The smaller text says: Don’t be a coward or make excuses. Just be responsible and do the right thing by getting your dog neutered. It’s easy, effective…and “you” won’t feel a thing. I found this PSA on their Facebook page, but couldn’t find anything when I looked at their site. I would be interested to see how this PSA would have resonated if it had been published in a magazine such as GQ or Men’s Health or even something like Rolling Stone, a magazine where it would reach men who have a dog but perhaps are not all about their dog. I would be very interested in looking at the demographics of the magazine this ran in and comparing it with the demographics of men who own dogs and don’t get them neutered.
PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap-“Beat The Heat”
This is a local ad for PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsip’s low cost spay-neuter program. This is absolutely a great local advertisement/flyer. Maybe I just like this one because I love to Photoshop goofy things on to my cats. I also love silly pictures of cats. I can see me making something like this as well. What I love about it is the team’s creative take on “heat.” Those of us who work with animals know it is better to get them spayed before they go into their first heat cycle. No one wants to be around a cat who is in heat. I assume the same is true of dogs, but seriously, you DO NOT want to be around a cat in heat. The loudest, most annoying and uncomfortable thing to watch. What I love about this is it is eye catching. If I were walking down the street and saw this posted in a store window or on a chalkboard, I would stop and look to see what it said. Though, I am most likely to stop and look at anything that a) has a cat on it and b) is colorful c) is silly looking. So perhaps I am not quite the target audience. Still, it stands out amongst the other local flyers.
Student Commercial for EMANCIPE+–“All The Single Ladies” Cat Dance Video
This is a cute little student commercial. I am actually surprised it doesn’t have more hits on YouTube. It has a catchy Beyonce song, and silly images of cats dancing back and forth to the music. The student actually did a really good job of matching cat images to the music. I am surprised EMANCIPE+ didn’t do anything with this video (I can’t find it on their website, nor any official connection between the video and the organization, though I suppose this does not mean they are not doing something with it.) Check out EMANCIPE+’s website here, they sound like a fabulous organization with a number of low cost spay-neuter clinics, even a mobile one!, around Austin, Tx.
Katherine Heigel’s “I Hate Balls” Campaign
Some of you may have seen this video. It is edgy, it is rude (to use a Britishism), it is hysterical. This is a great take on the spay-neuter campaign that doesn’t focus on animals. There are only a handful of images of an actual dog in the video. This could be a great way to attract a different crowd to the spay-neuter movement. I especially love that it is featured on Funny or Die.com, thus attracting a whole lot of people who would not have otherwise seen it. My only concern with this video is that it will have a negative impact on the men out there who already feel that neutering their dogs is somehow taking away their (human’s) manhood. Still, I give the campaign props for the new approach they are taking on the spay-neuter movement and for trying something a little edgier. I hope it works out better than the ASPCA’s Help Joey campaign did. The “I Hate Balls” campaign is clever, they even have a partnership with David & Goliath (makers of snarky but mostly innocent t-shirts and accessories). Check out the website and campaign here, if you haven’t already seen it.
Do you have a favorite PSA, Advertisement, or Campaign? I would love to see it. Post a link below.