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Pedigree’s experiential pUp syndrome campaign

By Joss Davidge

One of experiential marketing’s greatest strengths is its ability to challenge and change perceptions.

A highly personal and fluid medium that takes many forms, the very best experiential campaigns are the ones that tap into real issues and ask audiences to think differently.Pedigree_1.jpg

A heart-warming campaign achieved just that recently in Russia.

Pet food brand Pedigree took on a highly emotive issue as part of its global ‘Feed the Good’ campaign, tackling views of Down’s syndrome.

There are 146 million people living in Russia, yet reportedly only 4 people born with Down’s syndrome are currently officially employed in the country. That’s right. Four.

In a bid to tackle societal misconceptions and employers’ frequent rejection of people with Down’s syndrome, Pedigree has delivered an excellent campaign called ‘pUp syndrome.’

Pedigree invited five young people with Down’s syndrome to spend time working at a dog training centre and hotel, giving them the opportunity to look after and care for a bunch of four-legged friends while away from their owners.Pedigree_2.jpg

The experience provided these young people with an invaluable opportunity: the chance to work hard and to be wholly responsible for looking after these animals in a high-profile way.

But it’s more than just a feel-good stunt. Pedigree’s owner, Mars, has now publicly pledged to employ people with Down’s syndrome when its new dog centre opens in the Ulyanovsk region next year.

Since its launch the campaign has attracted wide international attention, and rightly so.

Its success is down not only to the heart-warming footage captured during the course of the campaign, but also because it’s provided a platform for a very important message to be shared on a global scale.

A message that cannot, and should not, be overlooked.

It reminds us of skincare brand’s SK-II’s recent campaign in China to tackle the notion of leftover women – unmarried women being seen as incomplete and sunned by society. Both show just how moving experiential marketing can be, and how a well-executed campaign can stir up plenty of discussion.

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