2016 IABC Gold Quill Award of Merit – Communication Management – #Whiskerpeg
In January 2015, cat licensing became a bylaw in Winnipeg. ChangeMakers was hired by the City of Winnipeg to mitigate the potential negative response from cat owners. We created #Whiskerpeg, a campaign that cleverly delivered the message that cats deserve to be treated the same as dogs and, therefore, cat licensing was a positive step towards equality for cats. #Whiskerpeg was featured in an outdoor campaign including engaging videos, bus backs, billboards and digital signs, supported by radio ads, newspaper ads and a Winnipeg Free Press website takeover. #Whiskerpeg’s social media posts prompted comments, likes and sharing, including several cat videos.
Overall, the introduction to the new cat licensing bylaw was well received by the public. Pet owners appreciated the light-hearted messaging rather than a heavy-handed law enforcement approach. The City’s goal of having 10,000 cats licensed during the first year was surpassed by more than a thousand during the opening two months. A portion of the new license fee was also used to fund community spay/neuter clinics – a vital service cat-lovers were keen to support.