K9 Friends – Talent For Hire: How an animal shelter became a talent agency

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Research from the Oxford Humane Society tells us that less than 2 in 10 dogs are adopted from an animal shelter. All over the world, people tend to use breeders or pet stores instead of adopting from animal shelters. This behaviour is compounded by the preconception that shelter dogs are ‘damaged goods’.

Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai set out to tap into that behaviour and change it by shining a new light on K9 Friends‘ dogs and drive adoption rates at the overcrowded shelter.

When people want to get a dog, the initial inclination is to buy a pedigree dog from a pet store and few consider adopting a shelter dog. To understand people’s attitudes towards shelter dogs, they went to the streets and interviewed 50 existing dog owners and 50 aspiring dog owners. The biggest issues raised were – Where do shelter dogs come from? Why get a dog that isn’t purebred? Why get an older dog?

marmaduke landscape1 (1)They knew that they had to create a platform to squash the preconceptions by focusing on the personality of the dogs and showing people who these dogs truly are. They decided to elevate these dogs by encouraging production agencies, marketers and entrepreneurs to book the dogs as talent in their projects. Making stars of the shelter dogs made people see these otherwise labelled ‘damaged goods’ in a whole new light.

So, the first Dog Shelter Talent Agency was launched, taking shelter dogs out of cages and putting them in the spotlight. It’s all about makeovers, Lookbooks and style—the perfect opportunity to impress people using the dogs’ existing, usually dismissed charm and by portraying their large, old, shy and not-so-cute qualities in a completely new way.

“It was a different approach for a dog shelter campaign – beautiful looking dogs looking happy encouraged more people to come and see us” said Jackie Ratcliffe, Founder of K9 Friends.

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