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Dogs Trust - A Puppy's Christmas Tale

The Challenge

Christmas is often the time of year that supporters are most open to giving, which means we want to make it the best appeal of the year.

The problem was, while Dogs Trust had lots of puppies and dogs in their care, there were none at the time whose story really screamed “Christmas” to us. We couldn’t build a strong pack without a strong case study… could we?

The Execution

We know the most powerful appeals tell a story: of triumph through adversity; loss; hope. And usually, we tell that story in the way that’s as true to the real details of what happened as possible. Truth is powerful!

But this time, we didn’t have a strong real-life story. So we decided – let’s tell a story anyway. Let’s tell the most powerful story we can.

So we created a storybook: Puppy’s First Christmas. We used simple, puppy-like language and old-fashioned watercolour illustrations to show supporters how it feels to be an abandoned dog at Christmastime.

And crucially – we left the story unfinished. Because it’s only with donors’ support that puppies like this can get the happy ending they deserve.

The Results

This Christmas appeal was indeed the strongest of the year for Dogs Trust, and beat the previous year’s Christmas appeal on both average gift, income and ROI. Telling the right story in the right way gives the right results (even if the right story isn’t the most obvious one).