On every livestock farm around the country, working dogs are a crucial part of the team.
Leading Australian agribusiness Ridley produces Cobber dog food. Ridley’s goal is for Cobber to be the brand of choice for those who own, work and breed working dogs.
In 2016, Ridley came to Currie with a dilemma. The team wanted a way to celebrate how integral working dogs are to Australian farms. But how?
Currie developed an innovative way to celebrate Australian working dogs: the Cobber Challenge. It’s an annual three-week competition, the first of its kind, to find the hardest working dog in Australia. In a world first, the dogs wear GPS collars to track how far and fast they run, with the dog that works the hardest crowned the Cobber Champion. In 2021, we expanded the competition to include New Zealand.
After five successful years of the Cobber Challenge, Ridley was looking for a fresh angle on the competition to capture audience’s attention and showcase a different part of dogs’ contributions on Australian and New Zealand farms.
With the Ridley team and past competitors, we brainstormed how to create a ‘team’ challenge. Rather than single dogs competing against each other, competitors entered a team of dogs, with the tracking of distance and speed taking a relay format.
Working with the Ridley team, we selected and prepared a fantastic line up of teams from every Australian state and one from New Zealand.
With the competitors and their teams sorted, Currie rolled out an integrated campaign across digital, social and media.
The Cobber Challenge website housed the competitor information and tracked the teams’ progress on a daily basis.
We used social media to share images, videos and stories – through the entry process, but ramping up through the three-week competition to the grand finale. Video content and collations were a priority, allowing audiences to see the hard-working dogs in action. They were homed on the Cobber YouTube channel, and shared across Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok.
We also worked up a series of media stories, and pitched them to target media, leaning heavily into local and regional outlets where the competitors were located.
We spoke with the competing farmers daily, helping them navigate the technology and ensure their team’s data was submitted. Currie worked with them to find images and videos that would capture the essence of their working dogs’ contribution to farm life, and we supported them to share their stories through media interviews.
The 2022 Cobber Challenge was another ripper. This year, the appeal of the campaign – and those great shots of dogs! – on social media was particularly strong. Prioritising videos proved an effective strategy. They received great engagement on socials with people keen to share via their own pages.
Facebook organic posts reached a massive 464,659 users. Posts on Instagram were more than three times higher than 2021, with 80,171 viewers. The website attracted more than 11,000 new visitors.
Importantly, traditional media once again loved the campaign. The Cobber Challenge was covered in more than 340 media stories, across newspapers, radio and digital publications, nationwide.
And, we’re now planning the Cobber Challenge 2023!