Colenso BBDO

Mars NZ
"Child Replacement Programme"

Client: Mars NZ
Product: Pedigree
Title: Child Replacement Programme
Media: digital b to c, integrated, traditional media
Country: New Zealand
Date Of Campaign: March - April 2017

Background: Empty Nest Syndrome is the loneliness parents feel when their children leave home. But while these parents sit in a quiet house lamenting how quickly their kids grew up, a dog sits in a shelter longing for a home. A home it can fill with love and companionship.So, we created the Pedigree Child Replacement Programme –a service that pairs abandoned dogs with abandoned parents. Pedigree’s global mission is to make the world a better place for dogs, and in doing so increase brand love. The Pedigree Adoption Drive is a big part of this mission. Our brief was to find more loving homes for dogs living in shelters. The country’s aging population means there are more and more ‘Empty Nesters’ (parents over 45 whose children have grown up and left home). Data told us that this demographic had the highest disposable income and, importantly, extremely habitual media consumption.

Idea: The Pedigree Child Replacement Programme targeted ‘Empty Nesters’ with a comically blunt campaign encouraging them to adopt a dog and ‘move on’ when their kids moved out. All work directed parents to our website ( where they could match the characteristics of their child with the characteristics of an abandoned dog– ensuring the perfect replacement was found. But we didn’t just want media to reach them, we wanted every touchpoint to enhance the idea. We used banners on Skype, print ads in gossip mags, TV beamed into lonely living rooms, and radio on the quiet drive to work. Airport OOH encouraged parents to replace their kids the moment they left the country. Everywhere parents were, we offered them the perfect child replacement– a dog longing for a home. To further incentivise adoption we offered parents the chance to turn their child’s old stuff into new stuff for their dog. Bedspreads were turned into dog beds, and beloved jackets into dog jackets. Pedigree already supports dog shelters around the country, but wanted to do more. Of the 3338 dogs that went into Auckland City shelters last year, only 671 were adopted. The majority of the dogs put down were young and healthy. If Pedigree could help rehome more of these dogs they wouldn’t just be increasing brand love, they’d also be increasing the size of their market.

Results: The Pedigree Child Replacement Programme received global media attention, featuring on prime time news and driving mass interest in dog adoption. The campaign drove an 824% lift in dog adoption enquiries through animal shelters as well as a 16% lift in Pedigree’s sales. Visits to the site far exceeded forecasted expectations, forcing us to find more shelter dogs to meet the demand. In six weeks we got more online dog adoption enquiries than in the last two years combined, helping to make The Pedigree Child Replacement Programme the most successful Adoption Drive campaign in almost a decade. In a country of just 4.5 million people, we achieved over 15m impressions during the campaign period.

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