On January 11, 2018, OUTFRONT Media Inc. (NYSE: OUT) announced the beginning of a new OOH campaign for Dogology Inc., a virtual dog training startup based in New York City. The campaign, which utilizes augmented reality to showcase the brand, was developed by the creative team at OUTFRONT’s in-house boutique, OUTFRONT studios.
The campaign, at its core, is a family campaign — and I got the idea, when talking with the team, that this was truly an “all hands on deck” effort. A sense of family was precisely what I felt when talking to Sarah Morse, CEO and founder of Dogology. Dogology, after all, was created to help some of our favorite family members: Our pets.
“Our dogs are our best friends, providing us with unconditional love through good days and bad. At Dogology, we want to help as many owners as possible strengthen that love by giving them the tools they need to understand and communicate more effectively with their dogs,” Morse said in a press release. “The out-of-home campaign was key to making this mission a reality. We were able to drive a lot of new users to our website and reach many dog owners that may not have learned about how our company could help them otherwise.”
On the analytics side, OUTFRONT’s Chief Data Scientist and Vice President, Stephen Fishburn, pointed to the necessity of a startup like Dogology.
“We found that there is a huge spike in people searching for dog training in the days after Christmas, specifically on December 27 and 28,” Fishburn said.
Historically, a lot of pets given for holiday gifts end up at a shelter when owners lack the ability to effectively train bad behavior. Dogology, and the campaign that pushed it into mainstream knowledge, seeks to rectify this major (and sad!) problem.
“When we do out-of-home campaigns, we do it with the goal of marketing to a consumer audience, but there was an unanticipated effect of this campaign we hadn’t considered,” said Fishburn. “Sarah started getting phone calls from executives of big pet companies who wanted to partner with Dogology, who had seen the ads on the subway or in Times Square.”
It’s a lesson that other startup founders can take to heart. Out-of-home campaigns have the potential to drive an impression to executives that a company is for real and substantive. And for Dogology, this is huge. Prior to the campaign, web traffic to the site was virtually zero. The campaign affected the site SEO is a radically positive way; Dogology experienced a 500% increase in direct site traffic.
Of course, it’s a combination of a lot of factors: That feel-good vibe you get from the ads themselves (props to the creative team), the sheer necessity of the program, and the AR component that drives a consumer-brand interaction.
The AR component of the campaign specifically enables users to point their phone at the ad, which then transforms into a mobile-integrated message related to the Dogology experience.
“I think we are at the tip of the iceberg in being able to employ exciting and engaging brand campaigns that really allow consumers and brands to connect more holistically,” said Jodi Senese, CMO of OUTFRONT.
For Dogology, this was the key to standing out. And it put a relatively unknown startup in the minds — and hearts — of a city that sees ad after ad after ad.