February 20, 2020
CAPS Launches Its First National Awareness Campaign

National awareness campaign ad features Kiley Wirtz Jennings
February 25, 2013 — The Companion Animal Protection Society, a Cohasset-based nonprofit with an annual budget of about $200,000 that works to protect companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy mills across the country, has launched its first national awareness campaign, relying on a broad media mix.

The campaign—Models Against Pet Shops and Puppy Mills—features Kiley Wirtz Jennings, a Dallas-based professional model, who, after learning about the issue, volunteered her time.

“Through this media campaign, we hope to raise awareness of the injustices in pet shop and puppy mills while encouraging consumers to adopt, not shop,” said Companion Animal Protection Society (CAPS) President Deborah Howard, who founded the organization in 1992.

The campaign, which launched earlier this month and will run through the end of 2013, includes:
  • Fifteen- and 30-second public service announcements (PSAs) are currently running on PBS stations (mostly during “The News Hour”) in Chicago, Los Angeles and Orange Counties, San Francisco, San Diego, and Tampa Bay. In addition, they’’ air in Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, and Kansas City.

  • Print ads published in The American Dog Magazine, Manatee Pet, and Sarasota Pet.

  • 700 transit posters on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro North Rail Road, the two most widely traveled commuter lines in the country.

  • Public relations efforts to pitch major talk shows, morning news programs, fashion, women's and general interest magazines, and blogs.

  • Social media to promote the PSA going via Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Vimeo.

  • Billboards in Lombard, Ill, and Tampa, located opposite or adjacent to two pet stores that CAPS has targeted for protest.
In addition, Beatrice, a puppy mill survivor rescued by CAPS and the canine star of the ad campaign, who has an email account, blog, and glossy color photo business cards, is getting the word out to her followers on virtually all social media sites including her more than 500 LinkedIn connections and more than 1600 Facebook fans.

Howard said television stations in Atlanta, Dallas, Columbus, Cleveland, New York, City, Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.” turned us down because they felt the spots were too activist in nature or they objected to the use of 'puppy mill’."

The campaign, costing $80,000, is being funded by a donor while a CAPS member paid for PBS spots in San Diego. CAPS is also appealing to members and prospective members to help fund the next phase of the campaign.

Howard said CAPS will measure the campaign’s success through increased donations, memberships, and website traffic.

Wirtz learned about CAPS after seeing a video documentary, CAPS vs. Bauck, How a Small Nonprofit Brought Down a Large Nonprofit, on Vimeo, which showed how a CAPS investigator compiled evidence against what Howard called “one of the largest and most notorious USDA-licensed dog brokers, to be convicted of animal cruelty.”

Videotaping and photography took place in Texas in September 2011, with all of the models, videographer, fashion photographer, clothing and hair stylists, assistants, and rescue dogs donating their time.

“Given the complexity of shooting photos and videos of fashion models and dogs, the project ran smoothly,” Howard said, although “we were in the process of re-branding CAPS so we had to update all campaign components with our new logo.”

According to CAPS’s most recently filed federal tax return, it had an operating budget of $204,519 for the year ending Dec. 31, 2011.

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