BAYER/K9S FOR WARRIORS
Raising Awareness of a Nonprofit that Saves the Lives of U.S. Veterans as well as Sponsorship of this Extraordinary Cause
BACKGROUND: Bayer sought assistance to promote the company’s sponsorship of K9s for Warriors, a nonprofit that pairs specially-trained service rescue dogs with returning veterans with PTSD to reduce their symptoms and help them return to a normal life. The nonprofit has had a 100 percent success rate in stopping suicides among U.S. veterans, which tragically occurs 22 times a day on average. Bayer wanted mention of its flea prevention product in the media as it was donating money to K9s for Warriors for each one sold.
CHALLENGES: To achieve positive media coverage for both K9s for Warriors and Bayer without having the story misconstrued as a product commercial story for Bayer or allowing the compelling work of K9s for Warriors to dwarf any mention of Bayer and its credit line. The PR campaign required a carefully devised media strategy so that the story was reported as news with a cause for action for Bayer. Reporters and producers had to be notified in advance that the Bayer sponsorship message had to be included in their stories and segments, which posed quite a challenge since journalists don’t appreciate anyone trying to exert editorial control over their work.
CAMPAIGN: The campaign targeted live TV, which would allow the K9s for Warriors interviewee – a returning vet whose PTSD was normalized by the program – to be able to deliver up the key sponsorship information. In addition, print media willing to include the Bayer credit were pitched the story.
RESULTS: Live interview on Fox TV’s “Real Story with Gretchen Carlson” and stories in People.com and in two military publications, all achieved within a couple of weeks, with each media outlet delivering each and every key message about both Bayer and K9s for Warriors.