1. WM
  2. /
  3. Work
  4. /
  5. The Animal Care Cent...

The Animal Care Centers of NYC Boroughbreds

At the Animal Care Centers of New York, the state’s only open-admission shelter system, a staggering 35,000 unwanted pets are taken in yearly. We needed to find a way to increase the number of annual pet adoptions – a daunting yet motivating task. Our approach saw the first scented OOH ads for cats and dogs, and a spike in the number of animals being adopted - including 100% of kittens born that season.



Finding homes for adorable, loving animals seems easy. However, at the Animal Care Centers of New York, the state’s only open-admission shelter system, a staggering 35,000 unwanted pets are taken in yearly. Our success would be measured solely on an increase in annual pet adoptions – a daunting yet motivating task. To convince people to open their homes to a furry family member, we knew we needed to build a connection between them and these animals they had never met. Utilizing data, we were able to determine that New Yorkers are not only proud of where they live but also have a strong commitment to the place they call home, no matter where they come from. Through this pride, we found that many New Yorkers are sincerely committed to helping other New Yorkers in their moments of need. The connective tissue we harnessed was their shared sense of identity, not only as New Yorkers, but as diverse creatures living in a melting pot like no other. Much like their human counterparts, these pets were something special; a breed of their own.


As part of a larger data, creative and media partnership, we launched the 'Boroughbreds' campaign and brought to life this shared sense of identity. This strategy treated each pet as not just a number in a shelter system, but as New Yorkers. These boroughbreds’ diverse backgrounds and heritages were put on display to create a connection between New Yorkers and their neighbors. But without precise targeting and media placement, we knew that our message would get lost in the noise and tuned out by our audience. To resolve this, we utilized targeted out of home ads that would tie individual boroughbreds and where they came from and strategically placed their ads in the neighborhoods they were from. Along with a full digital/mobile media plan, branded doggy bags to complement local restaurant ads and a partnership with Lyft to drive people to adopt, we created a robust campaign that reached our target from multiple angles. We also created a brand new medium - bacon-scented, lowered OOH ads for cats and dogs, to enable them to join the conversation - miaow!


The ACC became the leader in adoptions nationwide for open-admission shelters with a 93.2% placement rate, representing a huge leap from a 16% rate in 1995 and 80.7% in 2014. For the first time in the shelter’s history, 100% of kittens were adopted during breeding season.

In recognition of this rise in adoptions, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals committed an additional $1MM to 2018 ACC programs.
Overall, adoptions went up 7% year-over-year, going a long way to breaking the cycle of abandoned pets being forever without a home.



So far this campaign has won two Festival of Media North America awards for Best Use of Traditional / Ambient Media and Effectiveness, and AdWeek Media Plan of the Year.