WORKSHOP: CASE STUDY - RSPCA drive to better life of chickens

ANNIE KELLY

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Background: The RSPCA wanted to increase awareness of the cruelty inherent in the industrial rearing of broiler chickens. It created a media campaign that included a cinema commercial, and a single-page press ad that ran across national newspapers and magazines. The campaign also included the RSPCA's first use of the internet to rally public support for an animal-cruelty cause.

Aim of the campaign: The central aim was to raise public awareness of the conditions in broiler-chicken farms and to gather signatures, via a website, for a petition to be presented to supermarkets. The details would also form a supporter database for future internet-based campaigns by the animal welfare organisation.

How it worked: Digital design agency Lateral was commissioned by the RSPCA to build a mini-website (www.rspca.com/chickens), to sit within the RSPCA's main website. It also designed an online advertising campaign and targeted email to the RSPCA's database in order to direct people to the new site.

The home page of the microsite showed an animation of the campaign commercial that compared the different growth rate and physical development of a battery chicken raised for eggs and a battery chicken bred for meat. Users could click on links to read more or visit the RSPCA's main site, which featured news about the charity and other issues it supports.

The online petition included an "alert a friend

feature, which allowed supporters to email the petition to friends directly from the site. There was also a customised "friends and family

email, which included a call to sign the petition and a quiz to test the recipient's; knowledge of the broiler chicken industry.

Users were also encouraged to print out a coupon to hand in to supermarkets stating that they would rather pay more for chicken meat raised in better conditions.

The internet advertising consisting of pop-up ads was designed to drive people to the petition on the microsite. The ads appeared on national newspapers websites including The Independent, Electronic Telegraph, The Times Online and Guardian Unlimited.

Results: More than 7,000 people have so far signed the online petition and 3,560 "alert a friend

emails have been sent.

"Due to the overwhelming response, we are now planning to concentrate our campaigning activities more online in the future,

said John Rolls, RSPCA's director of communications. The RSPCA has run two further online awareness campaigns: one to raise awareness of the importing of primates into the UK and the Ban Hunting project.

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