The campaign for Southeastern Guide Dogs, in one way, was easy: The centerpiece is cute dogs and puppies.
But the branding and advertising project for the Palmetto-based organization, which matches visually impaired people with guide dogs, went deeper than pictures. Southeastern Guide Dogs places 100 dogs a year with people, including multiple military veterans.
The overall campaign goal was awareness and engagement, especially among professional women, says C-Suite Creative Director D.P. Knudten. “They are in Sarasota-Bradenton's backyard,” Knudten says, “but most people don't know them.”
Beyond awareness, a focus of the campaign was to go big. It includes TV, print and digital components, in addition to multiple billboards. One billboard is on Interstate 75, not far from the Southeastern Guide Dogs headquarters. Some billboards have a picture of one of the organization's dogs with his or her name and another line for legacy or destiny (transforming lives and superhero, respectively).
The billboard was an especially challenging aspect of the project, says Knudten. The general rule on billboards for highways is no more than seven words, given drivers' speed. So the idea is to tell an impactful story, fast.
C-Suite Communications' billboard for Southeastern Guide Dogs, featuring future guide dog Jackie
“A billboard is the haiku of advertising,” says Knudten. “It's an incredible challenge to create something you can only see in a blink.”
That takes C-Suite back to the dogs, and what makes the campaign work. The print side, for example, has individual pictures of dogs with brief bios. One is of Ginger, an 8-week-old with hobbies that include “playing with litter mates and sunbathing.”
Guide dogs Gibson, Wayne and Mason also get their own spotlight in the campaign. “We wanted to create a positive image about the dogs and puppies,” Knudten says. “They are the real stars in the campaign.”