The Public Image

December 10, 2012 4:07 pm

SPCA’s driving dogs

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Drivng Dog©AFP

Agency: DraftFCB New Zealand
Territory: New Zealand
Rating: 4/5

This campaign really did teach old dogs a new trick: driving a manual car. The goal of SPCA, a New Zealand animal charity, was to promote adoptions of unwanted dogs – and to market Mini cars.

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Several short films on YouTube explored the different backgrounds of each dog, the training over eight weeks, and the car modifications required.

A final video – featured on a New Zealand current affairs television programme on Monday night – showed Porter, a scruffy dog of indeterminate heritage that was rescued from the streets by the SPCA, negotiate triumphantly his way around a racetrack, unchaperoned.

Porter’s journey, to a hip hop soundtrack, may become a YouTube hit but the campaign was most successful in traditional media. The first “Driving Dogs” film, which launched the concept on December 2, has had more than 180,000 views; the follow-up films garnered less. But media groups worldwide, from The Times of India to Gawker, have run the driving dogs story, making it one of the most wide-reaching New Zealand news items in recent memory.

Mini, which paid for the campaign, wisely kept a low profile. Anything more obvious might have meant less editorial interest. And the SPCA says inquiries about dog adoptions are up.

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