For the past seven years markettiers4dc has worked with Bayer Animal Health to raise awareness of lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum), a parasite that is potentially fatal to dogs. The parasite is carried by slugs and snails and following two years of record rainfall and wet conditions, lungworm has spread beyond its traditional territories with vets across the UK reporting a rise in cases of infected dogs.
With the significant increase in lungworm, Bayer wanted to create a campaign that was innovative, engaging and true to reality. As such, the concept was developed through real life stories from pet owners who had experienced the devastating effects of lungworm first hand.
What followed was the biggest ever Be Lungworm Aware campaign was launched in early March to coincide with Bayer’s presence at Crufts and the launch of a new hard-hitting television commercial.
Broadcast consultancy markettiers4dc worked with animal health specialists Pegasus and design agency Zone to develop a multi-faceted campaign which included the launch of the UK’s first ever radio station for dogs and dog lovers.
To support the launch pre-campaign awareness research was carried out which showed how more than 80% of dog owners were aware of lungworm but only 8% were correctly acting to treat and protect their dog on a monthly basis.
Using this insight markettiers4dc and Pegasus launched a media relations campaign, securing widespread print and broadcast coverage with the celebrities and experts involved alongside the development of advertorials and a series of videos in various news and social formats to maximise engagement. In addition, this year’s campaign featured two vet facing online seminars explaining the details of the campaign to veterinary practices and offering access to a range of waiting room display materials and details on how to tune in to the station to listen live in their surgeries. The second seminar premiered the new television commercial which was designed to shock dog owners into action, encouraging them to ensure they are speaking to their vet about a parasite prevention plan.
Hound Waves radio launched for 24 hours on 7th March and involved some of the UKs biggest animal charities and over 40 celebrities and contributors. OFCOM licences were secured in London and Birmingham (on 87.9 FM) and video and audio programming was streamed online featuring ‘dog-umentaries’, music, news bulletins and celebrity guests, many of whom joined live from Crufts. Over 1000 minutes of content was created for the station with much of it subsequently being made available on demand afterwards at lungworm.co.uk.
With studios broadcasting live from the NEC as well as from London, a range of studio guests carried out photo-calls and appearances on the stand after their on-air interview which attracted hundreds of dog lovers to explore what was going on and created a significant buzz at the event.
To date, over 185 pieces of coverage have been secured across TV, print, radio and online media including Radio 4 You & Yours, The Guardian, Daily Express, ITV regional hub, More 4, BBC Scotland, LBC, Daily Mail, Reveal.co.uk and PA Newswire. There have been over 19,000 views of the various campaign videos to date; more than 100 vets engaged in the vet-facing webinar preview; a social media reach through Twitter, Vine and Instagram of over 4.9million users with a 300% increase in likes to the campaign Facebook page over the course of the activity.