Dawn Save-A-Duck Campaign
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report

Dawn Save-A-Duck Campaign

For more than 20 years, animal rescue groups have chosen Dawn dishwashing liquid to clean aquatic birds affected by oil spills because Dawn effectively cleans and removes oil while being gentle to the birds’ delicate skin and feathers.

Paul Holmes

For more than 20 years, animal rescue groups have chosen Dawn dishwashing liquid to clean aquatic birds affected by oil spills because Dawn effectively cleans and removes oil while being gentle to the birds’ delicate skin and feathers.
Since 1978, Dawn’s commitment to wildlife rescue has included donations of thousands of gallons of product to rescue organizations, such as the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) and Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, who have used Dawn to clean birds victimized by the Exxon Valdez, Gulf War and Galapagos Islands oil spills, among others. Although major oil spills have decreased in the U.S. in recent years, birds and wildlife encounter harmful oily substances, such as runoff from lawn mowers, boat engine leakage and oil-soaked streets, on a daily basis.
Although Dawn’s oil-fighting benefits are well accepted among consumers, the brand recognized it was not perceived to be as “mild” or “gentle” as its leading competitor. Building on Dawn’s need to communicate a mildness claim combined with its extensive heritage of wildlife efforts, Marina Maher Communications (MMC) saw an opportunity to win the hearts and minds of Dawn consumers through a cause-related PR program that leveraged the brand’s unique relationship with wildlife rescue and reinforced its effective oil-fighting ingredients and gentle formula.
The Save-A-Duck program put Dawn in a unique position to publicize the brand’s charitable contributions to the wildlife rescue cause; explain that these groups choose Dawn for its combination of efficacy and mildness; and educate consumers on how they could personally learn and do more to help groups that save animals from the effects of oil spills.
 Through research provided by the brand, MMC knew target consumers – while aware of Dawn’s efficacy – were not substantially aware of its gentleness benefits due to the strong mildness claim communicated by a major competitor. Additionally, few consumers were aware of the brand’s 20 plus year involvement with wildlife rescue efforts. Research showed that Dawn’s primary consumers – the majority of whom are “moms” – would respond to messages and activities that would connect with her emotionally. MMC cultivated this concept and created initiatives that would reach her directly and through her kids, such as the Save-A-Duck wildlife support program and school component.
 The strategic approach included four elements:
· Connect with target emotionally, leveraging her feelings/responsibilities as a mother. Reach her both directly and through her children. Engage her, and provide ways for her family to get involved with wildlife rescue.
· Consistently reinforce message: “Dawn is preferred by rescuers for cleaning birds & wildlife in jeopardy from oil spills proving that it is a unique combination of powerful grease fighting with mildness”
· Create opportunities to publicize rescuers’ selection of Dawn, in absence of news-making rescues
· Retain spokesperson, linked to the world of animals, that will appeal to media, moms and kids
The team aligned with Martin Kratt, well-known wildlife expert and host of the award-winning PBS programs, Kratt’s Creatures and Zoboomafoo. Kratt served as spokesperson and increased campaign appeal among target consumers: moms and kids.
The firm engaged consumers via a national fundraising effort (raising $50,000 for IBRRC and Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research); and the launch of the educational Web site, www.saveaduck.com, which focused on everyday oil spill hazards and ways consumers could help in wildlife rescue.
The program also reached moms directly through their kids with an educational grant program. The “bottle cap collection contest” awarded grants of $10,000, $3,000 and $2,000 to schoolchildren who collected the most bottle caps and gave parents and kids another way to join the wildlife rescue cause. 
And the team conducted a highly-targeted national media campaign – pulsed out over a 6 month period – to build broad awareness of Dawn’s mildness benefit and reinforce its wildlife rescue efforts. It kicked-off the campaign with a New York Times’ business feature to seed efforts, and created ongoing exposure throughout campaign duration via a national “wildlife rescue and relief success” VNR, SMT and ANR featuring Martin Kratt live from IBRRC. The broadcast efforts featured compelling visuals/audio to put a face on Dawn’s wildlife efforts and reinforce the mildness messages. 
Media outreach surrounding the launch of an emotional Save the Ducks ad campaign provided the opportunity to seed stories with additional media, such as advertising and marketing outlets.
The program and surrounding media coverage helped to strike an emotional chord with consumers, which 
contributed to a 6 percent increase in volume share for the brand.
The effort generated more than 108 million media impressions in 90 days and elevated dishwashing liquid into a new media playing field. Through the Save A Duck program, MMC took the low interest category beyond the traditional women’s books, gaining exposure in national and local print and broadcast media, including: The New York Times; CNN Headline News; CBS-TV “Saturday Early Show”; the Wayne Brady Show, and others.
The program reinforced the brand’s gentleness attribute among key consumers: A media analysis indicated that 99% of the coverage generated by the program clearly reinforced the brand mildness message and mentioned key program components. The program also earned an “Excellent” (91.5) rating by the News Analysis Institute.
Based on the highly successful program results in 2002, the brand is expanding the program in 2003.
View Style:

Load 3 More
comments powered by Disqus