Digital PR Awards: Use of Facebook

Winner: Weber Shandwick with PEDIGREE Brand - The PEDIGREE Feeding Project

Through no fault of their own, more than four million dogs end up in shelters and breed rescues every year. Sadly, nearly half of those canines never find a place to call home. PEDIGREE Brand, the world's largest dog food brand, is committed to reversing that trend, starting by supporting the good work of shelters.

With that challenge in mind, the brand and Weber Shandwick set out to reinvigorate adoption efforts by creating a program in which their support of shelters and dog adoption could be more closely tied to nutritious, really good food for dogs, thereby driving sales. The result was the creation of the PEDIGREE Feeding Project to provide participating shelters with their dog food needs, at absolutely no cost.

The “Choose the Next Communities” campaign encouraged dog lovers everywhere (using Facebook, of course, as a tool to create buzz and online awareness) to nominate their city as the next community that could benefit from the PEDIGREE Feeding Project. Unlike other adoption programs, PEDIGREE tapped into its faithful and passionate consumers to lead them to a market that consumers felt passionate about and needed acute attention.

To effectively reach target audiences, PEDIGREE and Weber Shandwick executed a number of tactics that combined community events, digital elements, online crowdsourcing strategies, a celebrity spokesperson, and social media activations, all to aid in supporting traditional media efforts. Tactics included Facebook and Twitter promotions and contests to create buzz and online awareness around the “Choose the Next Communities” initiative. Facebook followers were also encouraged to share their favorite dog memories and adoption stories on the PEDIGREE Facebook Page.

Ultimately, the initiative was a fantastic success, as it allowed participating shelters to save nearly $500,000 on dog food costs, funds that were reallocated towards programs to promote dog adoption. It also provided more than 2.4 million pounds of food to dogs in participating shelters to-date, helping feed nearly 30,000 dogs and resulting in almost 15,000 adoptions. Dollar sales across the total U.S. increased 12% vs. the previous quarter and delivered strong results with key retailers.

Honorable Mentions:

·               Essencius - Guld Barre Prize 2013

·               FleishmanHillard - Connecticut's Fan-Favorite Town

·               Fresh Ideas Group - Canyon Bakehouse Month of Love Giveaways

·               Molina Healthcare Inc. - Pay it Forward: Molina Healthcare's Community Champions Awards Facebook Challenge

·               NETEYE GmbH - Bosch – 5 Minute Internship