Amy Li Lai Ying
NGOs and social enterprises often lack budget for marketing. For instance, animal shelters have a high operational cost from taking care of abandoned animals. “The Perfect Voiceovers” was a low-budget social campaign launched by five Singaporean-based animal shelter NGOs including Causes for Animals Singapore and Action for Singapore Dogs in 2020. The campaign aimed at transforming public’s negative perception on shelter dogs by embracing its imperfection.
Campaign Execution and Impact
A short film was created by showing that 9 Singaporeans were invited to do the voiceover for people with similar experience, such as visual impairment and cancer. As the voiceover completes, the audience will find out the narrations was for the dogs from animal shelters instead. The subtitle “If we don’t have to be perfect, why should they be?” provoked audience’s thought on animal adoption. Highly digital-focused promotion was employed. The short film was posted on platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. The NGOs did not use media like out-of-home and TV advertisements due to tight budget.
The campaign impact was impressive despite having no advertising budget. Video impressions reached 5.2 million within two weeks. Also, there was a 21% increase in adoption inquiries (PR Week, 2020). For media coverage, it secured interviews from a top 3 radio station and the most circulated Chinese newspaper in Singapore (Edelman, 2020).
The success of “The Perfect Voiceovers”
Collaboration matters. In the past, these animal shelters developed several campaigns but it did not bring much positive impact to overall growth, both on social media and business operation. Although there have been some street booths promoting animal adoption, the organization will not showcase the disabled animals because people would prefer younger or healthier animals. It is undeniable that these shelters have been the competitors of each other. However, this campaign was a breakthrough for those animal shelter organizations to promote shared values and create emotional connection with the target audience. Simultaneously, the animal shelter NGOs could share the financial burden in marketing for the same cause together.
Secondly, the campaign utilized community word of mouth, in particular the amplified word of mouth. It fosters and encourages word of mouth effect within current or new communities. People voluntarily share videos to various Facebook groups such as PETS magazine and Singapore Pet Adoption Agency. Besides, there was a substantially high proportion of shares over likes (i.e. 68%) on the NGO’s post (Cause for Animals Singapore, 2020). What motivated netizens to share the video posts would be the content. The online videos adopted emotional marketing to provoke one’s sympathy towards the animals with disabilities and trauma (WARC, 2020). Apart from that, they used influencer marketing but on a pro-bono basis, as they believe the emotional appeals could arouse animal lovers’ attention to the campaign. Therefore, community word of mouth increased the video’s exposure and strengthen the cohesion among existing and new animal lovers.
The lack of marketing budget has always been a constraint for marketers.. By encouraging collaboration and utilizing community word of mouth, “The Perfect Voiceovers” serves as a great example of how low-budget marketing brings tremendous exposure and behavioural changes.
Cause for Animals Singapore. (2020, February 28). The Perfect Voiceovers. Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/causesforanimalsSG/posts/1431823680312656
Edelman. (2020). Causes for animals: Perfect voiceovers. Retrieved from https://www.edelman.com/work/perfect-voiceovers
PR Week. (2020, June 12). PR Awards Asia 2020: APAC campaign of the year. Retrieved from https://www.prweek.com/article/1686021/pr-awards-asia-2020-apac-campaign-year
WARC. (2020, June 29). What we know about low-budget marketing. Retrieved from https://www.warc.com/content/paywall/article/bestprac/what-we-know-about-low-budget-marketing/110156