Bronze Spike

Case Film

Presentation Board

Product / ServiceANTI AUCTIONS
CategoryB04. Charities, Public Health, Safety & Awareness Messages
Advertising Agency DDB GROUP NEW ZEALAND Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Production Company THE COOPERS Auckland, NEW ZEALAND

The Campaign

Trade Me is New Zealand’s most popular auction site; our version of eBay. In fact it’s so big, we don’t even have eBay in New Zealand. A staggering 81% of New Zealanders use Trade Me. It’s also the country’s largest marketplace for pets, with thousands of puppies being sold on the site ever year. Trade Me has no restrictions or rules for how the puppies are sold which creates the perfect selling platforms for puppy mills. Animal right’s group, Paw Justice wanted Trade Me set regulations to stop puppy millers from selling on their site. With minimal budget, we needed to capture the attention of the media and create a groundswell of public pressure to force Trade Me to change the rules. To do this, we used Trade Me against itself, by auctioning Paw Justice ads on the auction site to raise the money to run them. Every ad was sold before Trade Me even noticed the listings, proving even further that they needed to take a closer look at what was being sold on their site. Not only did we raise enough money to run all of the ads, we sparked a series of investigative news stories which rallied the public behind our cause. The very next day Trade Me caved under the public pressure and announced that they were setting new rules for anyone selling animals on their site.

The Brief

Our ultimate goal was for Trade Me to set regulations that would stop puppy millers from selling on their website. We needed to achieve significant media coverage across a range of platforms to ensure the New Zealand public were made aware of the issue, and got behind the campaign to pressure Trade Me to do so. Prior to launching, we identified potential media allies who were passionate about animals and who would likely invest the resources required to produce the investigative and emotive stories to capture the public’s attention.


We did it. We reached the people we were targeting and achieved our goal. The day after our campaign launched, Trade Me caved to public pressure and announced through the media that they would set new rules for anyone selling animals on their site. Not only did we raise enough money from the auctions to run our ads, but in just two days and after spending only $15,000 our story had appeared on every major media outlet in New Zealand. Gaining over one million dollars worth of earned media and starting a conversation across New Zealand about whether animals should even be sold on Trade Me at all. The public supported our cause on social media, creating 16.5 million impressions on Twitter and Facebook (more than 4x the population of New Zealand) with an 83% organic reach on Facebook.


1. After uploading the auctions to Trade Me, we used social media to promote them; asking our followers/fans to share and bid, as well as targeting famous animal lovers. 2. At the same time, this was supported via targeted digital advertising to create further awareness. 3. Campbell Live ran several exclusive investigative stories. As well as talking about our campaign, they interviewed victims of Trade Me puppy millers, investigated sellers and ran a poll – which came back 82% in our favour. They also interviewed a Trade Me representative who admitted that did nothing to regulate pet sellers on their website. 4. We then engaged wider media organisations and by the next day, stories about our campaign were in every major newspaper, TV news bulletin and radio station. The ads funded by the Trade Me auction then ran on TV, radio, online and in Auckland’s daily newspaper.

The Situation

Being the largest pet sellers in New Zealand, Paw Justice wanted Trade Me to lead the way in ethical animal sales. Trade Me sellers didn't need permits or checks and they could over breed their dogs without anyone even knowing. So we worked with experts to come up with regulations that would stop Puppy Millers from selling on the site. But we knew from past dealings with Trade Me, that without pressure from the public nothing would change. So first we needed to make New Zealanders, and the media aware of the problem.

The Strategy

Being a charity, Paw Justice didn’t have the money to run an advertising campaign. So our strategy was to use Trade Me against itself. We created ads telling Trade Me they needed to set regulations, then we auctioned those ads on Trade Me, to raise the money to run them. We then partnered with one of New Zealand’s most popular current affairs shows, Campbell Live to launch the PR campaign by running an investigative story about Trade Me buyers, proving that puppy millers were infact using the site. We had several different target audiences we wanted to reach, Trade Me, Trade Me Users, animal lovers and the general public. The auctions directly targeted Trade Me users. We used social media to reach animal lovers. We targeted the general public through media coverage and our advertising campaign. And lastly, we targeted Trade Me through the media via public pressure.


Name Company Position
Damon Stapleton DDB Group New Zealand Chief Creative Officer
Shane Bradnick DDB Group New Zealand Executive Creative Director
James Conner DDB Group New Zealand Senior Art Director
Christie Cooper DDB Group New Zealand Senior Copywriter
Jian Xin Tay DDB Group New Zealand Art Director
Kiran Strickland DDB Group New Zealand Copywriter
Jenny Travers DDB Group New Zealand Account Director
Michiel Cox DDB Group New Zealand Digital Planner
Steve Gulik DDB Group New Zealand Editor
Mark Trethewey DDB Group New Zealand Editor
Barnaby Fredric DDB Group New Zealand Editor
Julz Lane DDB Group New Zealand Production Manager
Toby Morris DDB Group New Zealand Illustrator
Sheetal Pradhan DDB Group New Zealand Digital Producer
Liz Knox DDB Group New Zealand Digital Operations Manager
Jim Pachal DDB Group New Zealand Digital Designer
Braden Wikohika DDB Group New Zealand Digital Developer
Elisha Balmer Mango/DDB Group New Zealand Senior Account Manager
Ange Mace Beat Communications Director
Jon Cooper The Coopers Sound Engineer
Rebecca McNab Beat Communications Account Manager