We wanted to understand what the issues were facing veterans, how the charity could help ex-armed forces personnel in need and the potential impact that media coverage could make in terms of increasing donations. We worked with Veterans With Dogs by first of all probing them about the charity in detail.
Further, the charity’s founder, Craig MacLellan had his own very compelling story to tell. He was diagnosed with PTSD and the charity was founded following his own experiences with his pet dog and the impact it had on his recovery.
When we knew Craig’s ‘story’ and understood the sensitivities of asking him to relive his experience, we pitched an exclusive featured to The Independent which resulted in a double page spread in the paper and online coverage. The story was also picked up by the Belfast Telegraph.
Once the Independent coverage appeared, we had interest from numerous broadcast outlets wanting the charity or a representative to feature in a variety of programmes. Being the ‘gatekeepers’ to the charity, it was garlandpr’s responsibility to assess each opportunity and either pitch it to the charity or politely decline. As the charity is focused on the mental health of veterans, care was taken that only the most appropriate angles were put forward.
Garlandpr recommended that an opportunity with Channel 4 News be progressed. The programme wanted to focus on the charity, interview the founder and other veterans and highlight the issue of PTSD in ex-service personnel. Following extensive liaison with the broadcast team and the charity, filming went ahead and the coverage – over five minutes in length – was aired on 3rd July 2015. Following the footage appearing, the charity received an increase in direct cash donations as well as people volunteering to raise funds.
In addition to targeting national media, niche titles such as those targeting dog lovers are also important to the charity, as it needs to sign-up more volunteers to act as puppy socialisers. As a result, Garlandpr worked with Dogs Today to produce a three-page feature on the charity which appeared in the magazine, highlighting the positive impact the dogs can have on veterans’ lives. The agency has also written blog posts on Craig’s behalf for outlet such as edogadvisor.co.uk.
Earlier this year, Garland PR worked with the production team behind the Crufts television programmes to produce a pre-recorded short film that was broadcast on-air. The charity’s head of training was also interviewed live on the programme about the work of the charity.
The client is very pleased with the level of coverage generated in national and dog lovers’ media and has consistently reported an increase in donations and offers of support following each article appearing. The coverage generated has also resulted in further positive media opportunities, a major win for both the charity and Garland PR.