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As lockdown bit in the UK, councils throughout England were asked to house ALL rough sleepers in emergency, separate accommodation. Hotels and B&Bs were co-opted. StreetVet, the veterinary volunteer charity for pets of the homeless, feared that few would take these vulnerable cases.
Most rough sleepers feel they’ve lost everything else; they simply won’t lose their beloved dog too, in order to secure get a space.
The charity was already researching and piloting an ‘accredited hostels scheme’ whereby it offered advice and practical help so homeless dog owners can be housed together WITH their pets. It pulled out all the stops to expand this service, virtually overnight to include relevant authorities.
We hastily developed the story for media, with case studies and sold it into media during the frenetic early days of the pandemic, when journalists were working round the clock. They were very thin on the ground and hard to reach as ‘working from home’ practices has just kicked in.
The messages were vivid and specific; they related to real stories and individuals and appealed to the emotions. They confirmed, rather than challenged pre-existing views. The messenger (the charity) was credible and trustworthy.
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