The RSPCA has appointed a strategic agency as part of a new 10-year strategy designed to improve awareness of the charity’s work.
The animal protection charity, which has been the focus of some highly critical articles in sections of the right-wing press over the past year, has appointed the agency Once We Were to coordinate and lead its marketing and campaigns programme over the next three years.
A statement from the agency said the appointment was the first step in a 10-year strategy agreed by the RSPCA’s board and trustees in June to improve awareness of the charity’s wider work before its 200th anniversary in 2024.
John Grounds, deputy chief executive of the RSPCA, said the agency’s appointment was part of a move to streamline the charity’s communications activities.
"In recent years, the organisation has used a large number of smaller agencies," he said. "We’ve now decided to use a smaller number of agencies."
But he played down the negative effect of criticism from what he said was a very small number of publications. "If anything it has galvanised our supporters, who know the value of our work," he said.
Grounds said the charity’s strategy was concerned with educating the public about all aspects of its work. "People have tended to know more about our core work, our inspectors and companion animals," he said. "But we also work on animal testing, improving welfare standards for farm animals, wildlife protection and the training and development work with other organisations overseas."
The RSPCA would be appointing a creative agency and a digital agency in the new year, said a statement from Once We Were, which would both be overseen by the company as part of a "new inter-agency family".
In January, the RSPCA lodged a complaint with the Press Complaints Commission against The Daily Telegraph after the newspaper wrote a number of stories about the charity in the wake of its successful private prosecution of members of the Heythrop Hunt last year.
The complaint, that the stories were "factually incorrect" and reflected "biased and unbalanced reporting style", was not upheld.