My Huskador Amelia went missing on the 15th March 2017 in Birmingham, by far one of the most devastating experiences of my life. She's my best friend and well, I couldn't just let her go or not try and find her. I went into hyper-crazy mode and started leafleting everywhere. I stayed in her favourite park for a whole 24 hours and she wasn’t anywhere to be seen… It’s like she just disappeared.
I had a light bulb moment. I have vast social media and marketing experience, I could start a paid social campaign to generate the leads and following I needed. I knew something wasn't right about her disappearance, I needed the public's support and what better way to get that than bombard them with ad’s asking for help?
The ad's started pretty quickly, within 2 days I had a site and ad's running throughout Birmingham. As time went on, I reached out to Google and Facebook to see if they'd be able to help. Google agreed to 2 days of full advertising in the West Midlands area in return for data. Facebook started taking notice, Amazon (my then employer) pulled strings and started running ad's on amazon devices. Leads started flooding in, from various locations and it really became a team effort. All vets within the West Midlands were asked to put up her poster in return for a £2 donation to the RSPCA, 170 took me up on the offer.
As the days passed and the campaign became more and more prominent more people got involved, West Midlands police put up her lost posters in all police stations and helped with leads, National Rail used a thermal helicopter and a team twice to check all rail lines surrounding the area around my mums home. The council approved camera use and assisted. The CAA allowed drone usage after extensive discussions. We had to rule out that she was missing or possibly hurt. After nearly 2 and half weeks of dead ends, we couldn't find her. The police officially considered her stolen at this point due to the high profile nature of her missing campaign.
As she was now considered stolen, the search took a whole new approach. She was officially too hot to handle and couldn't be anywhere in the Birmingham area. The ad's were extended beyond Birmingham to the West Midlands area as a whole. Tools were deployed to monitor public Facebook posts to scan for matches. At week 3 her ads were extended to the whole midlands area and leads started flooding from the Nottinghamshire area then this happened...
Nearly 4 weeks later, I got a message on Facebook. Her dog walker messaged her page. After extensive discussion and further pictures we were sure without a doubt it was her. We called Nottingham police who understood the situation and offered to police escort me to the meeting point agreed. I got to Nottingham, and it - it was her. I was all emotional. But she was back. In my life. And I didn't know how to handle life without her. She was acting like she met me after 300 years and couldn't believe it was me. Lots of cuddles and kisses were had that day.
The Result: I had her back in my life, over the course of the next few weeks we pieced together her movements, as we found out who stole her. Amelia was moved to Nottingham pretty early to avoid being found – around the 18-20th March. The person who stole her had links to both Birmingham and Nottingham and travelled between both the cities frequently. The reason for stealing her? They intended to breed her. There was no intention to return her and text/social posts laughed at the campaign.. “Do you think he’ll be able to do it? I dont think so lol” was one. The police took over at this point.
The campaign and it's impact: The aim of the campaign was to get to at least 1 device in every household. That happened with success. Since the campaign Amelia has a fan base who love seeing her updates, there is also an going campaign to change how dogs are seen in law. You can see her facebook page by clicking here, be sure to like!
Our life now: Me and Amelia moved to London in June, I took up a new role as the head of social at a start-up. It was a short term gig and I'm now looking for my next challenge! Do you have a vacancy? Do you need a social media wizard? If you love dogs, or don't mind dogs in the office - thats a massive plus for me. To learn more about me, click here. Or contact me to request my CV. I'm looking for anything within marketing, social media, governance or communication. I'd love to hear from you.
The nitty gritty info:
Cross channel social campaign - Facebook/Instagram
Total impressions: 10,000,000+