AKC is the recognized and trusted expert in breed, health, and training information for all dogs.
AKC’s “If It Barks” Campaign is a national initiative designed to help move the brand beyond their past “show dogs only” perception. While many people regarded the AKC as a trusted source, they regarded the organization as a trusted source for only show dogs with more of a stuffy attitude than what was representative of the brand.
This campaign uses a mix of humor and education to position the organization as a trusted, accessible, expert resource for all dogs and their owners—regardless of breed or background.
The goal of the “If It Barks” campaign is twofold: build awareness for the AKC brand through targeted video campaigns and drive traffic to the AKC website.
The goal of the campaign was to grow awareness among a new audience. For AKC, this meant not only reaching a younger audience but also engaging with them.
The “If It Barks” Campaign had also been around for a while, so there was some concern that our creative assets might be getting a bit stale. We didn’t have the budget for a creative overhaul but did want to be in the market with some new, fresh content.
Knowing AKC has low awareness among a younger audience, we set out to connect with Gen Zers. We aimed to meet the audience where they were already consuming media, with a focus on generating in-platform engagement with our campaign rather than trying to drive users to click through to the AKC site.
To best resonate with this audience, and seeing as our campaign creative had been in the market a while, we wanted to lean away from our standard banner ads and video assets and instead establish partnerships with influencers who would create custom content in order to amplify our campaign.
We sought channels where we could connect with Gen Zers. We identified TikTok as a fit to reach this audience. Seeing as AKC already had an increasing organic presence on the social platform, the timing was right to test paid efforts.
We then identified influencers—in this case, dog accounts—to partner with. Each account featured a purebred dog, produced engaging, family-friendly content, were within budget, and—in most cases—were already AKC registered.
Finally, we provided each influencer partner with a robust creative brief where we outlined the campaign goals and concept, various talking points (which differed for each partner) and some general AKC guidelines—such as no prong collars or retractable leashes. Despite the direction provided, we encouraged the creators to be authentic to themselves and their followers.