charity2THE CLIENT: The UK’s biggest feline charity.

BACKGROUND: The leading feline charity in the UK and in 2016 the organisation launched Wales’ first ever ‘Manifesto for Cats’ at the National Assembly, with the aim to put feline welfare on the political agenda ahead of the Welsh Government election in May.

With 29% of Welsh households owing at least one cat – higher than the UK average of 24% – and an estimated UK feline population of 10.5 million, Cats Protection wanted cat owners to get behind the manifesto and to call on key policy-makers to protect cats from abandonment, harm and neglect.

THE BRIEF: Clearly was charged with communicating the objectives of the manifesto to Welsh Assembly Members (AMs) and to raise awareness among the Welsh public at large.

THE STRATEGY: We recognised the sensitivities involved with animal welfare as well as the need o our part to fully ‘get’ the message that the charity was seeking to communicate – the only way we could be effective in making sure that their message was being conveyed in the right way.

We set up and attended meetings with representatives and veterinary advisors from the Welsh Government’s Animal Welfare department to gain an understanding of the Government’s stance on animal welfare, the measures they already have in place and crucially to garner their support for the manifesto and encourage AMs to do so too.

We also conducted field visits to the Bridgend adoption centre – the second largest of its kind in the UK – to see at first hand the work of the charity. Crucially this enabled us to gather a number of stories of some of the cats that the charity has worked with over the last 12 months.

On the media front, we contacted the Welsh media and drip-fed them details of the manifesto during the six-week period leading up to the launch event as well as sharing case studies of some of the most extraordinary journeys that some of the cats have taken before they reached one of the adoption centres in Wales.

During the event itself representatives from Cats Protection Welsh and Midlands offices were on hand to answer question both from AMs and the media in attendance. A large six-foot cardboard cat provided the perfect photo opportunity for AMs to pose next to whilst holding their copy of the manifesto.

THE RESULT: Interest from within the Welsh Government was phenomenal. More than 50 AMs attended the launch event, which exceeded expectations. Media interest too was superb, with both local and national newspapers and radio featuring the story.

Dozens of press cutting were generated, including live interviews on BBC Radio Wales ‘Breakfast’ and BBC Radio 5 Live with Adrian Chiles. In total, the campaign reached an audience of 1.7 million people during the week of the event (and not a Welsh rugby player in sight!)