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Small Postcards, Big Results

Twenty-five percent more cats scratching the furniture. Twenty-five percent more dogs chewing anything they can get their teeth on. Many things might explain the recent jump in calls to the behavior helpline at the SPCA of Pinellas County in Florida.

Other shelters may use the SPCA’s postcards as inspiration, but the SPCA is asking those who copy the idea to provide credit—for example, “Concept created by the SPCA of Pinellas County.” The photos are copyrighted and cannot be reproduced, but interested shelters will surely find aspiring models in their own kennels and cat rooms.

While it’s possible that local pets have lately become more “bad to the bone,” the more likely explanation for the 25-percent increase is the SPCA’s promotional postcards, which the shelter distributed last November. The idea was born when marketing director Nora Hawkins searched for a way to remind local pet owners that the SPCA’s hotline is there to help.

A donated CD-ROM supplied the amusing pet-and-guardian photos for the cards, and public relations coordinator Marissa Weeks came up with several attentiongetting phrases to complement the images. In one postcard, a positively devilish- looking kitty accompanies the question, “Are Behavior Problems Becoming a Cat-astrophe?”

The SPCA has enjoyed “an amazing response” to the cards, says Weeks. “A lot of people—because of how it looks—enjoy displaying it, and we’ve gotten a lot of calls.”

The project’s printing, design, and distribution were funded by a grant the SPCA received from the Robert S. and Mildred M. Baynard Trust. A local graphic designer produced six designs in all, which the SPCA distributed through vet clinics, pet sitters, pet groomers, and other pet-oriented businesses, says Weeks. The shelter initially printed 6,000 of each of the six cards, and demand was high. “Many of the veterinarians’ offices where we distributed the postcards called us for more cards when they ran out,” says Weeks.

While the front of each card is eye-catching, the back explains how to use the behavior helpline. The promo pieces are the perfect size for sticking on the fridge—just the right place for easy access the next time Rover steals toast off the kitchen counter.

 

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