BEFRIEND

ClientNIKA, A CHARITABLE FUND FOR HOMELESS ANIMALS ASSISTANCE
Category A12. Not-for-profit / Charity / Government
TitleBEFRIEND
Product/ServiceSOCIAL ADVERTISING PROJECT FOR SHELTER DOGS SUPPORT
Entrant DPG Moscow, RUSSIA
Idea Creation DPG Moscow, RUSSIA
PR DPG Moscow, RUSSIA
Production VERSUS PICTURES Moscow, RUSSIA
Production 2 DPG Moscow, RUSSIA
Credits
Name Company Position
Alena Kremer DPG Managing Partner
Alexandra Shokina DPG Creative Director
Andrey Maltsev DPG Associate Creative Director
Ekaterina Savrasova DPG Associate Creative Director
Alexander Belanovsky DPG PR Director
Anastassia Urchukova DPG Head of Strategy
Oksana Shibanova DPG Client Service Director
Larissa Pshenichnikova DPG Project Manager
Tatiana Khina DPG Designer
Anastassia Zaitseva DPG Junior Copywriter
Irina Botvinieva DPG SMM Manager
Dmitry Shchavleev DPG Digital Artwork
Alexey Chernavsky DPG Animation/CG Designer
Ksenia Tavrina DPG Photographer
Alexandra Podporinova DPG Photoshoot Producer
Ilya Naishuller Versus Pictures Director
Ruben Adamyan Versus Pictures Producer
Ekaterina Kononenko Versus Pictures Producer
Andrey Krauzov Versus Pictures DOP
Dasha Charusha Versus Pictures Composer

Why is this work relevant for PR?

The goal of BeFriend campaign was saving the lives of stray dogs, who, on the eve of the World Cup, were massively caught and taken to overcrowded shelters – which meant for the majority of them to be doomed to euthanasia. We responded to the occasion and used this major event with global audience to break through people’s emotional apathy, raise awareness and change attitudes toward the problem. Our campaign was immediately taken up in the public square and earned media coverage in Russia, UK, US, Australia. Right during the championship, we helped a doubled number of dogs find home!

Background

“Thousands of stray animals are being culled in preparation for the football tournament, activists say”. / The Moscow Times, April 2018 / “There are approximately two million strays in Russia’s 11 World Cup host cities and it has been estimated that local authorities will spend up to £119 million on catching, caging, sterilising and euthanising animals this year”. / The Guardian, May 2018 / “Russia 'slaughters HUNDREDS of stray dogs' close to World Cup venues” / Express, June 2018 / On the eve of the World Cup 2018 in Russia the lives of a large number of stay dogs taken to shelters got to be on the line. Together with NIKA, a charitable fund which works every day to save lives and find new owners for shelter dogs, we decided to address the global audience of the World Cup and save as many shelter dogs as possible.

Describe the creative idea

The objective was simple: to inspire more people save the lives of stray dogs by adopting them from shelters. But how would we break through people’s indifference? Make them feel the tragedy of every dog condemned to spend the rest of its life in the shelter? The answer? Dramatizing the sufferings of a homeless dog by elevating them to the level of human sufferings. And doing it exactly the moment when people’s emotions, sympathy and support were spilling over – during the World cup.

Describe the strategy

Catching the World Cup moment to save Russian shelter dogs. With a zero media budget we were targeting a worldwide audience: those who were in Russia during the World Cup or followed it online. Two weeks before the championshion we made a global announcement of the problem in the World Cup context (media lead 1) to ensure the coverage by the world’s largest media. A national campaign started on June 1 with the viral video. This second lead was intended to draw attention to the problem and evoke sympathy inside the country. The next lead was the #BeFriend challenge (from June 18). Russian celebrities inspired each other and millions of followers to support the project on befriendrussia.com. The activation echoed on the streets of Moscow with engaging billboards. The story of a shelter dog who found a new home in Canada (lead 4) concluded the campaign.

Describe the execution

The campaign started with a heartfelt video shot by famous director Ilya Naishuller and starring well-known actor Sasha Pal. This story of a wandering dog, cornered by dog hunters to be taken to a shelter, went viral and inspired other stars to support the project on their social media and Moscow billboards. The campaign continued at the height of the championship with the #befriend challenge, featuring Russian celebrities as dogs in their photos. Actors, presenters, athletes, bloggers published their dog-inspired visuals to their social media profiles and encouraged everyone to join and help shelter dogs on the project's website. The website, www.befriendrussia.com, offered a variety of simple ways to help and presented profiles of around 150 dogs in World Cup host cities. All dogs listed their interests, including "swimming," "being faithful," or "watching Soviet movies." Just like a Facebook for dogs – except you can become friends in real life.

List the results

The campaign instantly gained national and global coverage by such media as BBC, FTBL, Buro 24/7, Cosmo, Harper’s Bazaar, Big Picture, OK! Tatler and others. They described the project and provided a link to www.friendrussia.com Tier 1. In two weeks the video was viewed online 1 421 257 times and became the most viewed Instagram video of its award-winning director. The number of media impressions reached 541 241 394. Social media interactions: 1 509 226. Earned media: $ 3 550 313. Tier 2. Right during the Championship, we managed to reach a 200% increase number of adopted dogs (vs the same period last year) and raise the awareness about the problem by 35%. In a few weeks with a zero media budget we earned global media coverage and changed the future of more than 70 doomed dogs who found their homes and owners thanks to the BeFriend project.