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Bayer Animal Health

Agencies: markettiers4dc, Pegasus

More than 80 per cent of dog owners are aware of lungworm, a potentially deadly infection spread by snails, but just eight per cent were acting correctly to treat and protect their pet, according to research conducted by Bayer Animal Health, which manufactures a preventative treatment called Advocate.

Working with agencies markettiers4dc and Pegasus, Bayer undertook its biggest ever PR project to highlight the issue during one of the most important events in a dog owner’s calendar, Crufts.

Hound Waves, which aired from markettiers4dc’s London studios and Crufts for 24 hours on 7 March, was the world’s first radio station for dogs and dog lovers.

In the months prior to launch, 24 hours of content were scripted which included jingles and messages of support from more than 30 celebrities and charities, such as the Blue Cross and Hounds for Heroes.

OFCOM licences were secured, enabling the station to be broadcast on 87.9FM in London and Birmingham, while PRS and PPL licenses permitted the playing of dog-themed music, some of which featured in a Doggy Island Discs.

More than 1,000 minutes of content was subsequently created, including dog-umentaries, which included features on the work of the Pet Blood Bank and an insight into Pets as Therapy; much of this was also edited to be available on demand at a later date.

In the week prior to launch, Bayer’s research was used to highlight the issue and promote the station in the media. Videos, advertorials and television advertising were also used. The breakfast and drive time shows were live from London, with a range of studio guests, while in Birmingham special guests visited the Hound Waves stand for photo-calls.

The broadcasts were streamed live on air, and via Bayer’s Facebook page and website.

Prior to the event, Bayer had set key performance indicators of 80 plus items of media coverage, 2,000 plus views of campaign videos, more than 20 tweets about the campaign and a 2,000 increase in Facebook ‘likes’.

In the event, Hound Waves secured 205 items of coverage, more than 20,000 views of videos online, 4.1 million Twitter users engaged around the hashtag #HoundWavesRadio and 7,047 additional ‘likes’.

But, perhaps more importantly, more than 44 per cent of dog owners surveyed after the event had seen or heard of the campaign while 47 per cent of vets reported an increase in those asking for preventative lungworm treatment. Year-on-year sales of Advocate rose 70 per cent.

‘This was a creative campaign for an interested audience,’ said the judges. ‘It took a thorough and comprehensive approach that delivered above and beyond precise objectives.’