Colenso BBDO’s K9FM wins ORCA for June

Colenso BBDO has won the June Orca award from the Radio Bureau with its doggie radio station K9FM, which already picked up a silver at the recent Cannes Lions.

“Sometimes you hear an idea and you just go damn that’s awesome!” say Orca judges Karl Fleet, Josh Lancaster and Jamie Hitchcock.

Running since April, K9FM is a campaign for Colenso’s client Pedigree that dogs can listen to at home while their owners are out working. It stems from research that found that classical music calms dogs down, ambient sounds keep them stimulated and a relaxed voice eases their separation anxiety. K9FM provides dogs with everything from virtual days out (recordings of sounds from a beach, park etc) to dog stories to interviews with experts about frisbees.

The judges also said it was a “great idea that could have fallen down by not following through with execution. The creative team didn’t let that happen with some imaginative and entertaining content that held the listeners attention. Well that’s what my dog told me anyway.”

“The idea for the campaign was from a few dog owners in the agency, leaving the radio on for dogs all day,” says Colenso BBDO copywriter Oriel Davis.

“There’s research that proves dogs find it relaxing – that is, music and the sound of a human voice. The problem with a lot of radio is it’s either one or the other. So we put it together, it was fun to make the content. Then we approached Pedigree with it, who was already a client of ours.”

Davis says the team (himself, Matt Lawson, Levi Slavin, and Beth O’Brien) writes, record and updates segments regularly, and it’s programmed to play 24 hours a day, “much like how they run the BBC World Service here”. He says the Virtual Day Out clips are from stock libraries of sounds, which is a way of getting a lot of content without costing the earth.

“But obviously we chose the clips for places dogs would actually want to go,” says Davis.

“We want to keep the campaign going for as long as possible. We were answering a global brief, and K9FM gives us the chance to activate it locally and see how successful it is, and maybe we could roll it out worldwide.”

I Heart Radio doesn’t have listener numbers for K9FM, but TRB says “the station has the potential to be heard by their 206,000+ Registered iHeartRadio users.”

Along with the award, Colenso BBDO team won $500 and a limited edition Martin Horspool certificate and a $5,000 radio schedule for Pedigree.

Stoppress gave K9FM a spin today. First, a minute of Fur Elise on the piano, a virtual outing “today, we’re going to the beach” with a loop of softly crashing waves and distant seagulls for about five minutes, some classical violin music, “another good dog story on K9 FM”, a minute-long tale by a gravelly-voiced Scotsman about two of the bravest dogs in history. Then meditation: “I want you to picture yourself in a lovely green field. I want you to sit and now lie down on the soft green grass. You feel the wind blow softly in your fur. You feel very comfortable in this place, there are no cats here and you are safe. Now it’s time for types of ball!!”

And a shout-out from an owner to their dog Clooney – such a good boy.

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