Following Hurricane Harvey, Banfield Pet Hospital conducted research to gain insight on pet owner disaster preparedness. A concluding stat uncovered an unmet need: 91% of pet owners were not prepared for the next natural disaster. Springing into action, Banfield Foundation, the charitable arm of Banfield Pet Hospital, created a pet disaster preparedness campaign to educate pet owners nationwide.
The foundation partnered with Coyne PR to produce a PSA and with MultiVu, a Cision company, to distribute the PSA and a multichannel news release (MNR).
The 2017 hurricane season, which included Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, affected thousands of people. Additionally, thousands of pets were left behind or displaced.
“Soon after, California was hit with wildfires,” said Danielle Paleafico, Coyne PR senior account supervisor. “It was just story after story about people making heartbreaking decisions when it came to leaving their pets behind.
“The fact that 91% of pet owners were not prepared for the next natural disaster really proved the need for education,” continued Paleafico. “We needed to make owners everywhere implement an emergency plan for their pet.”
Banfield Foundation partnered with Coyne PR to implement a two-phased approach campaign to maximize outreach and deliver its message to the right audience.
The campaign kicked off with a collaboration between the foundation and Texas A&M University to raise awareness for pet disaster preparedness kits. In exchange for a $45 donation made to the Banfield Foundation Disaster Relief Grant program, pet owners received a disaster preparedness kit. For every $45 received, the foundation donated a kit to a pet owner in a high-risk area such as Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Houston and southern Florida.
Timed with National Animal Preparedness Day on May 12, Coyne offered in-studio and on-site interviews with Dr. Wesley Bissett, Texas A&M University’s veterinary emergency team expert, as well as local Banfield doctors. In addition, kits were delivered to major Houston animal shelters, increasing the campaign’s direct impact.
Coyne supplemented the Houston media day with local broadcast outreach in high-risk markets featuring local veterinarians.
Following local outreach, Coyne launched phase two of the campaign: produce a PSA and distribute both the PSA and MultiVu MNR to a national audience.
The PSA produced by Coyne PR featured Sean Lowe, a reality TV star, animal advocate and Hurricane Harvey responder.
“We felt a PSA would impact our target audience as well as drive the purchase and donation of emergency pet kits,” said Paleafico.
Coyne partnered with MultiVu to distribute the PSA to a multitude of local and national radio and TV stations. MultiVu also crafted and distributed an MNR, which included a branded landing page.
“The MNR was really helpful in terms of placing all assets in one place,” said Paleafico. “It was a succinct, well-designed package that really enhanced our outreach.”
Between helping low-income areas, at-risk markets and unknowing pet owners, the campaign brought community change to an issue that not only saves animals’ lives but spares families the emotional suffering of being separated from their pets.
Community events, including “Woof Shop” at the Children’s Museum of Houston and multiple prep clinics at Houston animal shelters, sprung from the campaign.
It also resulted in some serious media attention. In a few short weeks, the disaster preparedness campaign generated 558 stories and more than 627 million media impressions. The social media push generated more than 2 million impressions, 500,000 views of the PSA, 55,000 engagements and nearly 8,000 clicks to the website.
In addition, the Sean Lowe PSA appeared on major media outlets — including the websites of People magazine, Good Morning America, USA Today and NBC News — and local TV segments in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Austin and West Palm Beach. The video has aired approximately 5,456 times for nearly 97 million viewers.
Increased awareness that saved lives
The campaign’s overall reach and impact on low-income areas, as well as unknowing pet owners, saved pets’ lives across the country and safeguarded owners and families from emotional suffering.
“The campaign was a massive success and achieved its most important goal: It provided families and individuals with pets much-needed peace of mind and the knowledge needed to keep calm through the storm,” concluded Paleafico.