How a bit of brainstorming resulted in a great initiative

You’ve got to love brainstorming. You start with quite sedate, run-of-the-mill ideas, get more daring, and come up with concepts that are a bit more imaginative, veer off into some really wild notions, and then seemingly out of nowhere you hit on the idea that is ‘the one’.

It’s why our workshops are so invaluable to our clients looking for a new creative direction. It’s also how we can up with the idea for Cans4Pets, our charitable initiative that’s helping families affected by the cost of living crisis feed their pets. Without brainstorming we never would have come up with the idea.

Don’t believe us? Read on.

Taking inspiration from Patagonia

We often talk about how brands need to add value to people’s lives beyond their products if they want to be truly successful. Patagonia, is the obvious example, but over Christmas we noticed a number of brands were also trying to do their bit to help with the cost of living crisis.

These initiatives prompted us to have a discussion on how brands could successfully ‘do a Patagonia’, and we started to wonder if there was anything we could do ourselves.  A couple of hours of brainstorming later and the idea of a pet food bank started to form.

While pet food banks aren’t anything new, it seemed like the perfect initiative for us to be involved with. Not only does it tie in with our brand values, but we are all huge animal lovers and with a lot of our work focused on animal health marketing, we know how important pets are to people. We were also horrified by the number of reports talking about people having to give up their pets because they couldn’t afford to look after them and the detrimental effect this was having on animal rescues.

We couldn’t help thinking that it would be amazing if we could do something to help families in need feed their pets. 

What’s in a name?

Then came the fun bit – coming up with a name.  The trick was to come up with something that applied equally to both cats and dogs, so while Food for Fido was good it was too doggy focused.

Some of the other options our team came up with included:

  • Pet Nosh Squad
  • Pet Grub Club
  • Wonderpaws Taskforce
  • Pets In Need
  • Pet Fuelling Patrol

We then hit upon Cans4pets. Admittedly, not all pet food is in cans, but it ‘does what it says on the tin’ and also gave us the opportunity to play around with the word ‘can’. Every CAN counts. CAN you help out? CAN we get to our target? You get the idea!

Then it was just a case of creating a logo identity, a web page complete with a Can Counter to let people know how the initiative is going, and a social media presence.

Making it easy for people to donate

 Of course, no campaign can be successful if it isn’t easy for people to donate! So, we decided a two pronged attack would be best.

People are welcome to drop pet food off at our office, which is based in Reading and is aptly called The Dog House!

But as we know that won’t suit a lot of people, especially if you aren’t local, you can also donate via our JustGiving page. We will then buy the cans on your behalf and donate them to a local food bank. And in fact we’ve already done 3 trips already!

Cans4Pets campaign

So, what’s next for Cans4Pets?

Initially, Cans4Pets was only meant to run last December up to Christmas as this is the time when people feel the pinch in their purses most. But sadly, people who are struggling to look after their pets won’t finish struggling just because Christmas is over, so we left it running to the Spring.

And given the campaign’s success last year, it seemed silly not to run it again this year! So once again the campaign will run over the Christmas period right through until Spring 2024 and in that time we hope to have helped lots of pets and families in need.

It’s astonishing to think that all of this came out of just a couple of hours of brainstorming. And, of course, its success has been down to all the amazing people who have donated and promoted the campaign so far.

So don’t knock the power of brainstorming – it can result in ideas that can help change people’s lives. Talking of which, if you do want to donate, just visit the Cans4Pets website or our JustGiving page.  Every CAN counts.