During the summer of 2008, two national companies – Purina and SC Johnson – teamed up to create a new national dog event – the National Diving Dog Tour Presented by Oust and Purina. The event, held at state fairs in five cities across the country, featured everyday dogs competing for the longest dive off of a dock into a 20,000 gallon pool. The event producer, Ketchum-based Carson International, Inc., selected Murphy Media Services to develop and manage a public relations campaign to create awareness in New Jersey, Wisconsin, California, Tennessee and Georgia.
The goal was three pronged: Gain media attention, reach dog owners who may be interested in entering their dog in the competition, and create enough buzz to fill the bleachers. Although this was a national campaign, we knew that it was really a local story, e.g., “local dogs get their chance to compete in for a national championship.” The challenge was to create a buzz about an event that had never taken place before. The result of this strategy was outstanding. During the two-month campaign, the event enjoyed tens of thousands of dollars in earned media placement that reached nearly 6 million people. This was in addition to a number of You Tube videos, dog blogs and other word-of-mouth promotion posted on social networking sites by interested private citizens.