Chairman's Report

January 2008

The AKC Board, staff and the fancy often talk of the importance of public relations and advertising in fostering a positive public image of the AKC and the sport. We have made great strides in both of those areas in recent years and our message is often delivered via both editorial and advertising content in major media outlets nationwide. However, a tactic that is not always considered as readily is the public service announcement, or PSA.  PSAs are an important tool which allows us to accomplish multiple goals simultaneously, most notably educating the public and solidifying our brand.

While a PSA runs alongside television commercials or print advertisements and may appear to be a placed ad, instead of promoting a product or service it promotes the cause or mission of a non-profit organization.  It runs in advertising space but is not paid for by the organization – the media outlet “donates” the space as a public service to its readers or viewers.

AKC’s most recent television PSA focused on reminding children and parents about safe and courteous behavior around dogs. Titled “Kids Promise,” the PSA showed a number of children of different ages vowing not to tease, distract or disrespect dogs.

This PSA was redistributed in 2007 along with another PSA called “Blind Date” which focuses on reminding people to look for canine characteristics that fit their lifestyle when acquiring a dog.  In 2007 alone, these two spots reached 50 million viewers with an advertising value (the amount it would have cost to purchase the air time) of $1.4 million.

Over the years, AKC has also developed a library of print PSAs addressing subjects such as leaving dogs in the car, giving puppies as gifts and microchipping your pet. In 2007 we updated and enhanced many of these old favorites and also added three new topics: AKC Canine Good Citizen®, Internet scams and the Pet Promise. A booklet combining all print PSAs was created and distributed in hard copy form to over 1,000 newspapers, while downloadable versions were emailed to many thousands more. In terms of actual audience reach, these messages have reached approximately 12 million newspaper readers in 2007 and continue to receive pick up year after year.

In 2008, our Communications department will develop a new television PSA.  Once produced, it will be distributed to approximately 500 TV stations and also made accessible online.  We will make sure you hear about it.

If you are not familiar with our current PSAs, you can view them online at http://www.akc.org/press_center/psa.cfm. I also encourage you to consider using these tools yourself by customizing them with your club’s name, or just to reach out to local media outlets and build relationships.  PSAs are a creative, fun and positive method of counteracting a lack of knowledge about dogs and gaining exposure for our organization and our sport.  I hope you will take advantage of this resource that supports all of our collective efforts to spread the word on responsible dog ownership. 

Sincerely,


Ron Menaker
Chairman