By Evan Reid, Student no#215308274, Email: Evanr@deakin.edu.au
In April, as part of “Adopt a Greyhound Month” a new billboard (see image below) was posted in Punt Rd by “Adopt a greyhound” and “Voiceless”. This is part of a wider campaign by animal rights groups to oppose greyhound racing and promote the adoption of greyhounds.
The choice of a billboard on a high traffic road is aiming for reach and frequency, reach being the amount of people who have seen the ad at least once, and frequency the amount of times they see the ad (Iacobacci 2014 p.160).
Emotional advertising like this, particularly fear and guilt based ads are commonplace in animal activism and generally accompanied online by videos and images of animal cruelty, some real some mock-up. These ads create a fear or some type of anxiety, then offer a solution to relieve the fear (Iacobacci 2014 p.151). The billboard creates a fear that the puppy will die, then offers a solution to the fear, by not gambling on dog racing and adopting a greyhound instead. Research has found that fear and guilt based advertising are more effective at achieving behavioral change when the message is presented at or during the point of consumption (Antonetti, Baines & Walker 2015), ultimately the best place to display this image would be inside pubs and TAB’s where the gambling occurs, however I doubt the owners would not allow this. By using social media and news coverage particularly around major event times anti-racing groups can get the message to gamblers at the most effective time via their smartphones. These groups need to be careful using too much fear based advertising as negative emotion based advertising can backfire when overused(Antonetti, Baines & Walker 2015; Iacobacci 2014 p. 151).
Two Sides: One Goal
Despite differences in opinion, most adoption agencies both pro-racing and anti-racing work together in the promotion of greyhound adoption. With dogs from anti-racing agencies being brought to pro racing programs for adoption. The advertising goal from both sides is that greyhound adoption is a good thing. The overall goal of both sides is to improve the general public’s perception of the brand (the greyhound breed) and encourage them as a family pet, leading to the purchase or adoption of a greyhound (adoption is not always free).
One of the largest adoption agencies is Greyhound Racing Victoria’s own G.A.P. (Greyhound Adoption Program), who are a racing industry funded, pro racing adoption agency. G.A.P. use positive emotion to advertise greyhound adoption. G.A.P. integrate their marketing across multiple mediums, using event co-sponsorship by having adoption days during greyhound racing events, as well as holding separate adoption days at race tracks around the state, G.A.P. also heavily promote adoption on social media and gain news coverage to promote greyhound adoption. Once the Greyhounds are adopted G.A.P. help to define their brand by issuing numbered bright green collars which under state law allow the dog to be in public without a muzzle.
In the lead up to G.A.P. adoption day the marketing and promotion increases, cute images of the dogs up for adoption and testimonies from current Greyhound owners acting as brand ambassadors are posted on social media, asking followers to share in attempts to generate word of mouth (Iacobacci 2014 p.174). Recently G.A.P. featured in a news article in “The Age” promoting the virtues of greyhound ownership and providing all of the details on how to attend their next adoption day (Schetzer 2016).
Measuring the effectiveness of the campaign
The effectiveness of the campaign can be measured by the number of social media shares, number of “likes” and other metrics, but ultimately it is measured in the number of adoptions. In their last adoption day G.A.P. re-homed all 70 of the Greyhounds up for adoption. No matter which side of the fence you sit on regarding racing greyhounds, improving the image and the brand of the greyhound increases adoption rates, which is good for all concerned.
Antonetti, P Baines, P & Walker, L 2015, ‘From elicitation to consumption: assessing the longitudinal effectiveness of negative emotional appeals in social marketing’, Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 31, No. 9-10, pp.940-969, < http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2015.1031266>
G.A.P. 2016, 70/70 a Perfect Score for Greyhound Adoption Day, Greyhound Adoption Program, <http://gap.grv.org.au/2016/05/01/perfect-score-adoption-day/>
Iacobucci, D 2014, Marketing Management (MM), 4th Edition, Cengage Learning