February Chairman's Report
In the 1950s, the Poodle skirt as a fashion trend embodied the popularity of the number one AKC® registered breed. And if the recent media attention surrounding the release of AKC's 2006 Registration Statistics is any indication, not only does the Labrador Retriever reign supreme, but the purebred dog remains one of the most popular cultural icons in America. For further proof, one need only look to an AKC-registered yellow lab named Marley whose story still sits atop the New York Times bestsellers list for more than 63 weeks to prove our point.
Last month's announcement of our registration statistics, with a focus on the "Top 10" breeds, has reached more than 60 million people to date. Launched with an appearance on NBC's Today Show and a press event and photo opportunity at the "Top of the Rock" observation deck at Rockefeller Center, the news soon traveled to media across the country and even abroad. In the New York metro area alone, AKC made headlines on the electronic news scroll around the Fox News building, in Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station. New Yorkers also saw "America's Dog" - a larger than life smiling yellow Lab - staring back at them from an AKC window display at the Empire State Building.
A day after our press event, pictures of the "crowned" yellow Lab and a tiny Yorkshire Terrier sidekick were splashed across the pages of the New York Times, New York Post, Newsday, New York Observer and theNew York Daily News. AKC spokespersons were in demand and appeared on national outlets such as the Fox News Channel and Martha Stewart Living Radio to talk about the joys of purebred dog ownership and the benefits of a predictable purebred. Additionally, the ascent of the Yorkshire Terrier to the number two spot garnered attention in the New York Times for a second time that week, appearing in the widely read Sunday section "Week in Review." America Online (AOL) even polled members on its homepage by showing photos of the top 10 AKC registered breeds.
We were flattered by all this attention, yet didn't know we had truly "arrived" until becoming fodder for satire on NBC's Saturday Night Live. On the "Weekend Update" segment, which makes light of the news of the day, the anchor proudly displayed the Labrador Retriever alongside the AKC logo and announced the top three breeds. Next, she named a fictitious last place breed, the "take-a-poo," by flashing a photo of a generic dog living up to its name.
In addition to all the national press attention, we ensured that AKC made news locally by segmenting the registration data by city. Separate press releases denoting local trends and their specific "Top 10" breeds were sent to the 50 largest U.S. cities. Coverage from this initiative continues to pour in, but to date has included the Boston Globe, Washington Times, Charlotte Observer, Dayton Daily News, Sacramento Bee,Houston Business Journal, Rocky Mountain News and the Arizona Republic as well as TV segments on stations such as KNBC (Burbank), WCCO (Minneapolis), WTAE (Pittsburgh), and WMC (Memphis.)
Each year, we will continue to celebrate America's most popular AKC registered purebred dogs with a major media announcement. But, we always know that where the fancy is concerned, no matter where your breed ranks, it's always number one on your list.
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