Global heroes: Driving Dogs phenomenon the real thing

Global heroes: Driving Dogs phenomenon the real thing

driving dogs auckland nz spcaAn ambitious campaign by DraftFCB, Mini and the SPCA that put homeless mutts behind the wheel of a modified Mini has taken the cake as the most shared video on BBC three days running, with 225,000 shares to Facebook and 7,900 to Twitter, and ranks as the biggest news event on Campbell Live in its seven-and-a-half year history. 

“We’ve lost track [on the campaign uptake], it’s gone so incredibly crazy. Pretty much every major news outlet in every country has covered it,” says executive creative director Regan Grafton. 

The YouTube footage of “Dogs this smart deserve a home” has fuelled the fire with over 900,000 video views of their clips and related uploaded videos – and that’s not including the Campbell Live clip on Monday night, which showed Porter the dog driving reporter Tristram Clayton around a carting track in Avondale.

In the US the canine racers have featured on the The Letterman Show, Huffington Post, USA Today,, ABC News, and FastCo, while in the UK it appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, BBC, and over in Oz it made it onto Sunrise, The Age, and NineMSN. And the driving dogs quickly staked out their place as the top story of the week here on Idealog.

 “On the Guardian it’s the most viewed and talked about all week – it kicked Kate Middleton out of number one,” says Grafton.

Angela Spain, general manager of PR, said “We hoped it would be huge, but we never expected it go global in the way it has. We have had unprecedented interest and enquiries from every corner of the Earth.”

Back home, Kiwi media has also run rampant with New Zealand Herald, Nightline, and the Herald on Sunday all getting a slice of the action, not least because of Campbell Live’s coverage. Its teasing out over a week, from introduction to live-driving, let the story propagate around the world.

DraftFCB creative Peter Vegas says the Campbell Live shoot possibly covered Porter’s worst driving session ever (Porter couldn’t quite make the corner) but that it added to the drama and the comedy factor, with support for his fumbling paws rolling in from around the globe.

“People have made heroes of the dogs which is what we were after,” says Vegas.

Besides, not going to script was part of the feel of the project. Special effects weren’t part of the plan," says DraftFCB creative Matt Williams. “From the get-go we wanted it to be real, with no jiggery-pokery going on.”

Grafton says it’s not just the New Zealand SPCA that has had a massive increase in enquiries for dogs. Anecdotally, shelters in the UK and the US have had interest as well.

“We are hoping it will have a halo effect for shelters of dogs globally,” they said.

For Vegas, his defining moment of the campaign was when David Letterman himself said “I love this story as life itself”, making it the theme of the Top 10 on the show.

Many viewers have requested more footage of dogs driving so a recap was shown on Campbell Live again last night.

This Sunday, viewers have a chance day to meet the dogs at the Mangere SPCA 10.30am til 2.30pm, with the Mini, rig and trainers also in attendance.

This story originally appeared on StopPress

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