Check presentations for $10,000 happen every week. And no agency president or PR director is telling their client they’re pushing hard for coverage on the network evening news. But, when the check is going to a double amputee Army veteran whose life was saved by her service dog, to help the veteran take care of a disabled Yellow Lab puppy with an uncertain future, there may be a chance.
Rinck Advertising pitched the pay-if-forward story of Christy Gardner and her dogs Moxie and Lucky Tim, and the surprise funding of Lucky’s medical expenses by VetriScience Laboratories, and CBS Evening News wanted the broadcast exclusive. Veteran “On the Road” correspondent Steve Hartman went to an elementary school assembly in Maine for the check presentation earlier this year. He told Rinck it was the first story he had ever done from a PR pitch.
The reaction to the goodwill of Vermont-based VetriScience was instant, as dozens of people called, e-mailed or sent hand written notes to the company thanking them for the $10,000 donation that covered expenses for two surgeries Lucky needed. Hundreds more thanked VetriScience through their social channels, and in comments on social posts with the story from CBS affiliates around the country. The three-minute storyaired nationally three times, for a whopping 44 hours of broadcast time.
Rinck also got coverage of Gardner and VetriScience from People.com, and the approach to the CBS story pitch earned Rinck a win in the Exclusive Content Strategy category in the 2019 PR Daily Media Relations Awards. VetriScience was honored in May with the 2019 National Animal Supplement Council Lancelot “People Helping Animals” Award given to a NASC member company that puts love into action by physically or financially supporting an animal in need.
Rinck’s Content team kept the puppy love flowing after the CBS story by posting “Pupdate” videos on VetriScience social channels after Lucky’s successful surgeries. Steve Hartman shared post-surgery photos on his Facebook page, and Moxie and Lucky got a hat tip from Superpower Dogs when the People.com story was shared by the movie.
Photos taken by Rinck at the school event were used by dozens of media outlets, and helped amplify the story with cute dog images. While the project wasn’t intended to be a sales driver for VetriScience, the company set an all-time high for online sales the day after the CBS Evening News story aired.
Rinck is a full-service advertising, marketing and public relations agency serving clients from offices in Maine and Maryland.