Product / ServicePET REFUGE
CategoryF05. Breakthrough on a Budget
Media Placement NZME Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Production 2 FRANKLIN RD Auckland, NEW ZEALAND
Production 3 BLOCKHEAD VFX Auckland, NEW ZEALAND


Name Company Position
Damon Stapleton DDB Group New Zealand Regional Chief Creative Officer
Gary Steele DDB Group New Zealand Executive Creative Director
James Conner DDB Group New Zealand Creative Director
Christie Cooper DDB Group New Zealand Creative Director
Lily Macintosh DDB Group New Zealand Junior Art Director
Maisie D'Cruz DDB Group New Zealand Junior Copywriter
Crystal Clark DDB Group New Zealand Senior Business Director
Georgina Foot DDB Group New Zealand Business Manager
Violet Hong DDB Group New Zealand Business Manager
Carina Egelhof DDB Group New Zealand Digital Strategist
Michelle Savill Goodoil Director
Charles Howells Collective Force Photographer
Judy Thompson DDB Group New Zealand Executive Producer
Samantha Royal DDB Group New Zealand Senior TV Producer
Amanda Summersby DDB Group New Zealand Facilities Manager
Mike Hammond DDB Group New Zealand Senior Editor
Dan Cummings DDB Group New Zealand Editor
Dan Partington DDB Group New Zealand Audio Engineer
Liz Knox DDB Group New Zealand Digital Director
Johannes Gertz DDB Group New Zealand Executive Digital Producer
Lizzy Funaki DDB Group New Zealand Lead Producer - Digital Content
Sheetal Pradhan DDB Group New Zealand Digital Producer
Wihan Meerholz DDB Group New Zealand Senior Digital Creative
Jason Vertongen DDB Group New Zealand Head of Digital Design
Barry Cumming DDB Group New Zealand Senior Mac Designer
Gordon Moir DDB Group New Zealand Retoucher
Sean Brown Mango General Manager
Max Burt Mango Senior Account Manager
George Mackenzie Goodoil Business Director
Mark Foster Goodoil Executive Producer
Michelle Savill Goodoil Director
Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper Franklin Rd Music Arrangement
Shane Taipari Franklin Rd Sound Design
Jonathan Mihaljevich Franklin Road Music Licensing
Stu Morley The Editors Offline Editor
Dave Gibson The Editors Colourist
Charles Howells Collective Force Photographer

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Pet Refuge was a new charity with a hidden issue, so it was important to develop a campaign with multiple touchpoints. Not only to drive awareness but also to enable Pet Refuge to enter conversations and ultimately consideration to donate. But with a very small media budget to work with, PR was an essential part of the campaign. While our film used emotive storytelling to capture the hearts of New Zealanders, create awareness for the issue and empathy towards victims, our PR campaign added scale and believability with statistics, interviews with key spokespeople and experts and survivor stories.


New Zealand has the highest domestic violence rate in the OCED and the second-highest rate of pet ownership. Yet there was nowhere that domestic violence victims could take their pets when they escaped. A 2018 NZ Women’s Refuge survey of domestic abuse victims found 75% had a pet threatened, harmed or killed by their abuser and 53% stayed to protect their pets. It was from this insight that Pet Refuge was born - a charity set up to care for pets affected by domestic violence, so their families could escape. But first, they needed to build a shelter. Our objective was to raise $250 000 in 30 days, enough to fit out Pet Refuge’s new shelter. On a shoestring budget. For a charity that no-one had ever heard of before. To solve an issue the New Zealand public were not familiar with.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

We created a film that showed New Zealanders that when a pet can't escape domestic violence, neither can those who love them. The film told a story every animal lover could empathize with and understand. A love story about a woman and her dog, who were trapped in a cycle of abuse. because she couldn't take her with her, or leave her behind to be abused. Then we asked New Zealanders to donate to help build the shelter. Because when we rescue a pet we can rescue a family. We backed up the film with PR, using facts, statistic, expert interviews and survivor stories to add scale and credibility to the campaign.

Describe the strategy (30% of vote)

We needed to reach animal lovers and persuade them to dig deep to help us build the shelter. This was such a hidden issue that simply creating a film wasn't going to be enough to convince NZers that it was a real issue and get the nation talking. So, months before the launch, Pet Refuge reached out to The New Zealand women's refuge and asked them to conduct a survey. The stats and real stories we received from this survey then became the content for all of our media pitches. Our Strategic Approach Connection: Move people through emotion Dramatise the life-changing power of loyalty. Credibility: Inform people about our solution Stimulate a conversation and create credibility for Pet Refuge. Donation: Get people to take action: Help people contribute to our solution as seamlessly as possible.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

Ahead of the launch, we reached out to NZs largest commercial radio press and online news network, NZME and shared our film, statistics, and stories with them. By giving NZME the right to exclusively release the film and our research report and providing spokespeople, experts and case studies of survivors, we secured a series of stories across three days and a commitment to help us reach our fundraising target. We also pre-arranged the front-page coverage in NZs largest daily newspaper (The New Zealand Herald) and ensured that the same evening our campaign would be aired on the most-watched evening news shows. To keep encouraging Kiwis to donate NZME ran daily updates on how the crowdfunding campaign was going across print, online, radio and social media until we reached the goal.

List the results (30% of vote) – must include at least two of the following tiers:

Business Results Using emotion at scale our campaign was so effective, we raised a monumental $300 717 for Pet Refuge — $50 717 above their target. In just one week.Making it the single most successful campaign ever run on Communications Results The campaign received a total PR value of $1,326,2067. A cumulative reach of 11,064,454 (and New Zealand has a population of only 4.8 million). And 156 media items. The shelter is being built right now and will be caring for its first lot of pets before the end of the year. So now for the first time, those affected by family violence won’t have to choose between their pets’ safety and their own.