Australian Shepherd, Dog, Pet, Canine, Animal, Lying

Wild Card was given the challenge to develop a picture story to demonstrate how people can build long lasting friendships in their local communities by signing up to take part in The Big Lunch.

While more than 7 million neighbours and around 1 million dogs took part in The Big Lunch in 2015, this year, on Sunday 12th June, there are likely to be even more. This got us thinking: Could owning a dog be one of the answers to friendlier neighbourhoods in Britain?

To find out more, we polled the public and the results revealed that 71 percent of Brits believe that people out on the street are more likely to stop and talk to you if you are walking a dog. Results also showed more than half (52%) say that having a dog improves relationships in the community and that dog owners have on average three friends originating directly from having their pet! Could dog-friendly people be one of the keys to unlocking even more neighbours to join The Big Lunch?

We reached out to The Big Lunch dog-friendly community including Holly & Lil Winners of the ‘Somewhere on the High Street Open for Dogs’ award who also hold an annual dog-friendly Big Lunch in Potters Field. Since we are suckers for a cute face and a wagging tail (and we know we’re not the only ones) we invited them along to Paws for a Big Lunch.

A great group joined us for lunch in London’s popular Bermondsey Street to share their stories and partake in a little dog training in preparation for the big day.  Katherine and her pooch George, the celebrity sausage dog who is no stranger to the limelight, sat down with Jo and her Basset Fauve de Bretagne, who made great friends with Llewly the Corgi and owner Eva while Linda and Cookie the Bichon Frise got along famously with Sue and Poppy the German Shepherd. Just some of the friendships forged on the day.

Ariel told us: “My partner said I wouldn’t have any friends if I didn’t have Sharky’ because I normally don’t like going out and meeting people but having Sharky definitely makes it easier”.

The campaign was pawsitively pawsome and pugnacious Sharky ate all the cake but don’t terrier self up about it, as one the UK’s leading top food and drink PR agencies, we of course provided a healthy spread including plenty of pup cakes to go around and a huge blueberry naked cake for the humans too.

Coverage was secured with more than 71m reach across, three national publications, six regional titles and two lifestyle titles including:

Huffington Post’s (5.9m) ‘pic of the day’

The Daily Express (419,328) Print

Daily Express Online (29m)

Lancashire Evening Post

Sheffield Star

Sunderland Echo

Bristol Post

Social engagement led to a 30% increase in Facebook likes and 221% increase in Twitter engagement during campaign live period with the best performing posts reaching over 100%+ above industry standard.

Social posts included George the Sausage (9,390 Instagram followers) and Jinny Ngui (1.7k followers) as well as dog friendly titles including K9Magazine (82k followers) PetFinet and TheGoodDogGuide.

The Big Lunch is more than just a sit down; it’s all about building long-lasting friendships with your local community and it’s the perfect recipe for having fun, whether you have a canine friend or not. So why not join your community and neighbours for a one-day get-together on Sunday June 12 2016.

For more information and to register for your pack visit @TheBigLunch #DogFriendly