In the spring of 2015 Kansas City Pet Project–the largest No-Kill, open admission shelter in the Midwest–asked us to help create and launch a “big idea” event to be established as their largest annual fundraiser. KC Pet Project takes in nearly 27 animals a day, resulting in 189 a week, 756 a month, and almost 9072 a year. Bursting at the seams, their goal was to raise funding to build a larger facility. A daunting challenge, my writing partner and I conceptualized “Furlough,” an event connecting companies, Kansas Citians, and our dogs. A city-wide event, 50 dogs were sponsored and sent on Furlough to enjoy a weekend on the outside. They went on walks, played ball, snuggled on the couch–whatever their hearts desired. For that weekend, the dogs got to experience what it meant to be part of a family, and families got a free trial with a dog who could end up in their forever home. Each dog was sponsored by a local company for one or two days covering all costs including a waived adoption fee should families keep their furry friends.
DISCOVERY + DESIGN
The event identity balances the serious tone of animal shelters with the whimsical nature of dogs at play. I created a custom logotype capturing the excitement of wagging tails balanced with a bold script, which then stamped and scanned gave an authentic rough-around-the-edges sensibility. The brand system including invitation, brochure, poster, direct mailer, website, collateral, and social content. To further highlight this distinct balance, masculine layouts reminiscent of retro newspapers were paired with a soft, high-contrast palette. Halftone images of playful pups accented by humorous illustrations inspired moments of compassion and lightheartedness. Limited time, budjet and resources led to a series of prototypes resulting in a multi-purpose mailer, which encompassed a save-the-date, brochure and poster.
COORDINATION + RESULTS
In collaboration with KC Pet Project, we organized and coordinated logistics of the event including weekend events, local business partnerships, sponsorships, PR, pickup, drop off and contingency plans. On the day of, families were asked to be ambassadors for KC Pet Project and the Furlough dogs both in Kansas City and on social media with #FurloughKC. We engaged with pet-friendly, local businesses to sponsor Furlough events across the city, providing additional exposure for KC Pet Project and each dog. “None of the dogs that went on Furlough with foster families from the shelter came back, many of which were adopted by their Furlough families, and by those that families introduced them to. Other dogs are still in their foster homes with their Furlough families who couldn’t bear bringing them back to the shelter. We were featured on KSHB and Fox 4 on Sunday while at KC Bier Company, and the Instagram activity has been fantastic. For the first year with sponsor participation, we raised over $18,000.” –Tori Fugate, KC Pet Project