Putting a tail-wagging twist and a paws-itive spin on a show launch 

Work alert

How do you best celebrate the launch of Muster Dogs Season 2, a hit doggy TV show? You focus on four-legged customers with a custom mini-newsstand, creative billboards, doggy newspapers and a treat-based circulation strategy. Here’s how we got tails (and tongues) wagging for the launch on ABC iview.  

We’ve got nothing against cats (soz Mittens), but dogs are the undisputed kings of the domestic pet kingdom. Pooches are our best friends, therapists, personal trainers (did anyone say ‘walkies’?), and if you’re a farmer, they’re also your hardest-working and least demanding employees.  

The hit TV series Muster Dogs pays tribute to these working dogs, showing all the effort and love needed to train five puppies through to professional farming duty in rounding up or herding cattle, sheep and other animals. The first season followed the training of five kelpies, a breed of clever, tireless herding dogs perfect for hot, dry Australian conditions. The second season looks at five Australian Border Collie pups, the herding standard for farmers worldwide. It starts with dog mum Debbie, as a selection of five puppies within her 10-strong litter is sent to five different graziers who train the pups. These pups are part of a genetically gifted bloodline, as their ancestors make up over 100 years of dog trail champions in Australia. However, good genes are just the start – the training of these pups comes down to the skilled input of Neil and Helen McDonald, expert dog trainers who are back from the first season.  

So, why has the show been such a huge success? Footage of cute puppies will always offer top-tier TV, but it’s also fascinating to gain an insight into these working dogs’ training and day jobs. Getting to know the individual pup characters also makes it more rewarding. The pooches are pitted against several training stages where they must pass tests and challenges, like a doggy version of Survivor or The Apprentice, but without the tribal councils or double-dealing. 

Muster Dogs deserve our love and attention, so the question is: how do we do justice to the launch of their second season? We put on our thinking caps, went for a few walkies, and then decided we needed to put a new spin on a proven storyteller tactic. However, it needed to be less about fairy tales and more about furry tales. Here are three reasons why our pooch PR and experience worked:  

  1. The idea started with location, location, location.  

The right event location matters, both for us and our mutts. According to a global survey of event organisers and attendees by an event ticketing platform, they found that 76% of organisers believed that the choice of location significantly affected the event’s success. In fact, the survey revealed that events held in the right place saw an average 47% increase in attendance. 
 
So, we needed somewhere that appealed to our pooches and their parents, somewhere we could celebrate all dogs and their fur-tastic qualities. The result: Sydney Park, a massive, lush, pooch-friendly place in the city filled with high walkies potential and newsstand appeal. 

  1. It harnessed Direct-To-Dog (DTD) marketing. 

We love that name (DTD) – we didn’t create it, but we definitely harnessed the same approach and energy. We personalised our billboards for the doggy customers, and we saw plenty of success – something that’s a proven formula for success in the industry. Research by the Event Marketing Institute shows that personalised experiences can lead to a 42% increase in customer engagement and a 24% increase in brand recall, and 68% of event attendees said they had a stronger emotional connection with brands that used personalised elements in live activations.  

The question is: how did we personalise our doggy headline act? We took a traditional newspaper story launch but tailored it to work for our best friends and brought it into the digital age with social media and pooch Polaroids. We created a bespoke miniature newsstand, mini-billboards (at dog-eye level!), and special newspapers in Sydney Park. Once the newsstand and billboards (and probably the smell of treats!) drew the dogs and their owners in, the pooches were rewarded with complimentary treats. 

Tailored, location-based OOH advertising such as the mini-billboards and newsstands is a proven formula, and not just for us: A recent study carried out by the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) examined the impact of location-based OOH advertising on consumer engagement. The results: location-based OOH campaigns experienced an average increase of 27% in consumer engagement, and 63% of consumers exposed to hyper-personalized OOH ads reported a higher likelihood of taking action. In our case, that was visiting ABC iview through a QR code. 
 

  1. It relied on creating fetching photos with paw-rents. 

The last step in our launch focused on bringing in digital love. Research shows that hyper-personalisation makes 74% of consumers more likely to share their customised brand experiences on social media. So, to help drive our pooch news in both print and digital, we focused on the parents.  
 
Once the dog owners in Sydney Park were pulled into the newsstand by the straining leashes of the pets, special paparazzi (or ‘puparazzi’ in this case) took snaps of the owners and their dogs on retro Polaroid cameras reading the newspapers and billboards and visiting the newsstand. The result: retro branded photos that the owners could take home with QR codes that took them straight to ABC iview to watch the show (the QR codes were also on the newsstand and billboards) at the park or at home.   

SERVING UP SMARTER EVENTS  
Sharing the news of the Season 2 launch came down to a single-minded focus: we spoke to the right people (and pets) at the right time and place. Once we had drawn the proud dog owners through their furry kids, these worked as catalysts by sharing the good news on their social media channels through Polaroids and QR codes.  

The winning formula: we used a new spin on an old storytelling format, with some smart DTD advertising and effective tech thrown into the mix. The result was happy dogs, happy dog owners, and an unforgettable experience celebrating our best friends’ best qualities. The warm, fuzzy association with Muster Dogs helped drive awareness and created new fans of the hit series.  

Ready to craft a tailored event worthy of the front page? Give us a chance to craft a deeper, more authentic experience to connect to your audiences and make your brand the top dog. Hit here to start talking. 


Author bio

SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

Ambitious, proactive and hard working client account director who is always hungry to learn and always looking to improve my skill set. Passionate about marketing and have great pleasure in creating unique experiences and working with an array of great clients. I've been working with Because for over 10 years now.