Blue Cross | Content | Experiential

Tap Dogs

When our pet charity client Blue Cross asked us for an idea that would dovetail with their latest fundraising advertising campaign we did what we often do here at Cow: we went to the dogs. Quite literally, as we recruited the world’s first team of contactless fundraising canines, which we called the Tap Dogs.

Maverick the border collie, Cherry the lurcher, Ralph the old English sheepdog cross and Labradors Rosie and Smudge each shunned the traditional collection tin in favour of a truly 21st century method: sporting contactless card technology in their specially-designed jackets, enabling passersby to donate £2 to the Blue Cross with a simple tap. Each of the Tap Dogs were owned by Blue Cross volunteers and frequently tour the country taking part in educational events.

We captured photography and video content of the Tap Dogs at work on Hampstead Heath and Herne Bay on glorious early summer’s days. The resulting coverage showed that Tap Dogs really did win over the heart of the nation, with stacks of national coverage including Metro Online, Telegraph Online, Guardian Online, Sunday Telegraph and The Times, who all jumped at the chance to write about our furry fundraisers.

The real coverage boon, however, came from the BBC, who liked the story so much that they filmed their own footage of one of the Tap Dogs, the adorable Smudge, which was broadcast and syndicated across the BBC News Channel, BBC Breakfast, BBC Business and BBC World, as well as featuring on Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary Show, BBC News Online and Newsround. On the BBC News Facebook page, the video was viewed a whopping 267,000 times.

Following the coverage the Tap Dogs were star billing at a number of fundraising events across the country, collecting funds for the Blue Cross with a simple pat and a tap. And therein lies the real value in this idea: not only was it a hugely successful PR story that drove substantial awareness of the Blue Cross, but it has a legacy beyond the coverage, and has now become a genuine, innovative fundraising mechanic for the charity to deploy as they see fit. Indeed, the Tap Dogs will soon be donning their jackets once again and taking to the streets and parks across the nation – so be sure to #TapandPat if you see one of them!

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