Media > Sectors


COLENSO BBDO, Auckland / MARS / 2017


Gold Cannes Lions
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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. Our idea was to connect these abandoned dogs with lonely parents through a targeted channel strategy.

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.

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.


Digital outdoor panels ran in the departure lounges of 3 of New Zealand’s busiest airports, catching parents seeing off new university students and international explorers. Highly geo-targeted digital and social caught moments of downtime while kids were checking in.

Digital display ran alongside long-distance Skype calls, and our engaging videos pre-rolled sad ‘goodbye’-themed ballads on YouTube. Video was expanded to be environmentally specific TV, cinema and targeted social, and radio took our message to the masses.

Keyword targeted display sat alongside potential new hobbies for parents, targeting listings for fishing and golf gear, convertibles and boats for sale, and in magazines such as Motorhomes, Caravans & Destinations.

Large format digital mall panels, street posters and social opened the campaign up to a wide audience, leading to organic sharing and tagging by both parents and a younger demographic.


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.


The Pedigree Child Replacement Programme was a dog adoption campaign that targeted parents whose kids had left home. But we didn’t just want media that reached them, we wanted placements that enhanced the idea.

So we bought banner space on Skype and print ads in gossip magazines. TV ads beamed into lonely living rooms and radio ads played on the quiet drive to work. Digital displays at airports even encouraged parents to replace their kids the moment they left the country. Everywhere parents were, we were there to offer them the perfect child replacement– a dog longing for a home.


‘Empty Nesters’ are loyalists when it comes to media, but advertising often passes them by. To stand out, we needed media placements that amplified and enhanced the sentiment of the messaging. Our approach was to provide an emotional solution at the exact moment they felt the emotional challenge of their kids moving out.

Media placements were in the moment, and tapped into the various emotions our ‘empty nesters’ were feeling, ranging from sadness from saying goodbye, to hijacking their quest for new and expensive hobbies once the kids had moved out.

We needed to talk to parents in moments of ‘this is happening’ as well as moments of ‘what happens next?’


Pedigree’s global mission is to make the world a better place for dogs, so that dogs can continue to bring out the best in us.

Pedigree already support dog shelters around the country, but they 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, with many more years of love and companionship to give. 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.

Our objective was to get people talking about the plight of shelter dogs and, in doing so, rehome as many as possible.

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