October 2014 marked the first stage of a nationwide ecological experiment ‘The Big Snail Count’. The initiative is encouraging families to take part in timed snail and slug counts within their gardens and local parks, recording and submitting data on the number, location and activity to recognise the link between mollusc activity in their gardens and the risk of lungworm to pets. The data can then be inputted into a specifically designed app on the campaign Facebook page.
The campaign is part of the wider ‘Act on Lungworm’ campaign for Bayer Animal Health which aims to help raise awareness of the potential risk of the lungworm parasite (Angiostrongylus vasorum), which can cause serious health problems in dogs and can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated.
We enlisted the help of Professor of Ecology Dave Hodgson to front the campaign and mollusc expert Dr Les Noble, creating bespoke video content to encourage families to get involved in the count. This has been successfully placed on third party sites with key hits secured including The Belfast Telegraph, Dogs, Primary Times, Driving with Dogs, Our Dogs and Espresso Educational, with sell-in still underway.
Additionally, ahead of the broadcast day an excellent range of broadcast interviews were secured, 14 in total, with key opportunities including BBC Radio Wales; BBC Radio Newcastle, BBC Radio Essex, Pirate FM and Sky News Radio running it as copy.