This proposal aims to help increase Singaporean’s awareness regarding cat overpopulation for the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) through an adoption drive, an interactive advertising campaign, as well as a viral video.
CWS is a registered charity that believes every cat should live free from fear and suffering. At this point in time, CWS has taken certain initiatives to address the rising issue of cat overpopulation in Singapore. For example, CWS has implemented a Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme as well as introduced their very own magazine, Mews magazine. CWS also reaches out to 10 partnering organisations and has had several successful campaigns such as “Old is Gold” campaign and “Better with a Cat” awareness campaign (Cat Welfare Society).
However, there is still a lack of awareness of Singaporeans concerning cat overpopulation. This will lead to heavy consequences and be of a great disadvantage to CWS, whose aim is to save lives and to promote a humane, responsible and informed society (Cat Welfare Society). With the stray cat population increasing drastically, cat hoarding cases, as well as cat euthanasia rates will rise. Unwanted cats will be seen roaming freely on the streets, causing more problems for Singaporeans. In the recent years, CWS has also been facing challenges of insufficient funding and support (H. Ng). Hence, the non-profit organisation will continue to struggle financially and might not survive in the long term.
Thus, in this proposal, I will present three ideas that will address the issue of cat overpopulation in Singapore through raising awareness and promoting the adoption of cats. My first idea is to present an opportunity for Singaporeans to adopt more cats through an adoption drive with the theme of “Adopt a Better You”. My second idea is to introduce an interactive advertising campaign called “Trace the Paws”, inclusive of a QR code hunt and a social media contest. My third idea is to produce a viral video called “Don’t Let Them Suffer in Silence”, which will be spread as an advertisement for CWS. This proposal aims to help increase Singaporean’s awareness regarding cat overpopulation for the Cat Welfare Society (CWS) through an adoption drive, an interactive advertising campaign, as well as a viral video.
As of now, CWS has taken some measures to address cat overpopulation. CWS conducts yearly Stray Cat Sterilisation Programmes, which remains their core function while they seek to meet their challenges. According to CWS’s Annual Report in 2016, CWS has sterilised 4,113 cats through their programmes, with AVA impoundment rates continuing to drop. CWS also began a low-income pet cat sterilisation scheme and has sterilised 522 cats from 197 at-risk families as of 2017. CWS has done advertorials through Mews magazine, a quarterly insert in Pet Lovers Magazine, which reached an average of 7,000 distributions in 2016 and has aided in raising awareness about CWS and their efforts. CWS also set a shop for cats in order to raise funds, which managed to raise more than 10% of their total funds through their merchandise sales in 2016 (“CWS Annual Report 2016”).
CWS has seen some success in terms of public perception and awareness. CWS has a larger public number following and supporting the organisation’s causes and this puts them at an advantage in terms of support in campaigns. For example, CWS’s two successful campaigns such as “Old is Gold” campaign in 2015 and “Better with a cat” awareness campaign in 2012 received much support and good feedback from Singaporeans. CWS also has a large number of 61,566 followers on their Facebook page. CWS has been featured numerous times on local news articles and has associated with multiple organisations and companies, all of which has helped them raise publicity. According to research on Factiva, CWS has been featured on a total of 317 news publications by The Straits Times, Channel NewsAsia, The New Paper and other news organisations within the past five years (“Cat Welfare Society”). CWS also has a total of 10 partnerships with examples being Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and Pet Lovers Centre (Cat Welfare Society).
Problem / Potential
However, despite CWS’s current efforts, many Singaporeans are still unaware of the prevailing issue of cat overpopulation. The lack of awareness from Singaporeans will have a negative impact on cats as well as for CWS due to an increased number of cats that need homes and a lack of financial support for CWS. Presently, CWS is faced with challenges of insufficient funding and volunteers, which are vital in sustaining their campaigns and efforts. A Straits Time article in 2015 with the title “Fund-starved Cat Welfare Society barely manages to survive”, reported that CWS almost had to stop its work due to insufficient funds. CWS had required about $70,000 a month in order to operate, increasing $20,000 from 2014 (H. Ng). The number of stray cats in Singapore will continue to increase drastically due to cat overpopulation. While CWS’s main efforts are put on sterilizing cats, sterilisation is not always an option. According to a study by Canadian Humane Societies, while sterilisation is becoming more common, it cannot always be done due to the common cases of cats being too young, having other medical problems or owners not being able to afford the surgery (Abedi). According to a Channel News Asia report, the number of cat hoarding cases CWS handles had climbed from five cases on average a year in 2009 to about seven to ten annually in 2016 (Kek). In 2017, The Straits Times reported 94 cats found in a 3-room flat in Sengkang (Lam). Channel News Asia also reported that 888 stray cats were euthanised in 2015 out of the estimated population of 60,000 stray cats in Singapore (“942 stray dogs, 888 stray cats and 623 wild monkeys euthanised in 2015”). Cat impoundment rates which fell to below 1000 in Singapore history are likely to rise again (J. Ng).
In view of the lack of awareness of Singaporeans regarding cat overpopulation, CWS needs to start introducing more ways to approach this problem. With greater awareness from Singaporeans, there will be more effective ways of combating cat overpopulation due to the increased number of cat adoptions and financial support for CWS. Thus, CWS must first find ways to promote cat adoptions by coming up with more campaigns that would convince Singaporeans to adopt more cats in their homes. With a media campaign, CWS could inform Singaporeans about the effects of cat overpopulation and encourage more people to adopt cats and support their cause. With more publicity about their organisation, CWS can increase their funding and ease their financial difficulties. With the support of a well-informed society, CWS would be given more opportunities and power to address this issue. More donations would be given as well as volunteers offering to aid in CWS’s efforts. This could also lead to more partnerships and support from companies.
My first idea would be for CWS to produce a viral video with the title “Don’t Let Them Suffer in Silence”. This video can be uploaded to YouTube and spread through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. The video would inform Singaporeans about cat overpopulation and its harmful impact on society. It should be attention-grabbing and concise as a video can only go viral if its content leaves a lasting impact on the viewer. The beginning of the video could showcase a short series of popular cat memes and videos people love watching, with a voice-over saying “Watch cute cat videos? Why not watch over one too?”. It would explain how cats are loved everywhere online, yet countless of cats are not loved in a home. The video could also give alarming statistics to the audience such as the number of homeless stray cats roaming about in Singapore and the number of them being culled. The viral video would have a powerful message and would propose a call to action at the end. The message of the video should be clear and get across easily to the audience such that they understand the severity of the issue raised. Cat overpopulation should be well addressed along with the negative effects it brings. The video could even show an emotional scene of cat victims of hoarding cases, in order to evoke a sense of empathy from the audience. Finally, the video should end with a call to action, such as asking viewers to support CWS through donations or volunteering, as well as to adopt more cats to save lives.
My second proposed idea would be an interactive advertising campaign called “Trace the Paws”. Floor decals of paw prints would lead Singaporeans to posters with QR codes which they can scan to receive e-vouchers. Effective posters can be put up in public places, where people can trace the paw prints to these ads and scan the QR codes. The posters should convey a strong message of cat overpopulation to the audience without using too many words. These posters should also raise awareness for CWS and be put up in public places where people are likely to see the ad, such as MRT stations or shopping malls. Some of the posters should also publicize the combined social media contest for people to participate in. This campaign makes use of social media to get its message across to Singaporeans through its social media contest. Participants can win prizes by posting pictures on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. By using the hashtag #tracethepaws with an interesting caption, participants can win a 6-month supply of Pet Lovers Centre’s products and a $500 cash prize. A cat must be included in the photo with a caption of why they love cats and why people should adopt them. This can spread more awareness about cats on social media and gain the attention of social media users. Participants must also be following CWS on their social media accounts in order to win, where CWS will subsequently post the winner as well as provide regular updates about upcoming events.
My third proposed idea would be for CWS to conduct an adoption drive with the theme of “Adopt a Better You”, in collaboration with Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Before the event, CWS could organise a sponsorship fundraiser in order to cover the event costs through food or money donations from local businesses. This can be done by giving them the option of having a booth at the event where companies can promote their products or business. CWS could advertise this adoption drive through attractive advertorials on social media and issue flyers to promote the event. CWS could also have volunteers distribute captivating flyers that appeal to their target audience. On social media, CWS can provide constant updates about the event as well as further promote the event through engaging content. This adoption drive would have the goals of 100 cats adopted out as well as to create community awareness about cat overpopulation. This will be done with a rough budget of $5,000 and a duration of two days. A cat tent would be set up with cats that are up for adoption from SPCA. This will include compelling adoption profiles of the cats, focusing on their positive qualities so as to attract more people to adopt them. To prevent any escape or fights between the cats, they will be enclosed. Adopter gift bags would be given to those who adopt as well. There could also be a meet-and-greet spot where potential adopters can interact and get to know their cat away from all the other cats and distractions. In line with the theme of “Adopt a Better You”, CWS could set up a stage where experts would give useful talks and also educate people about cat overpopulation during the event.
The viral video is the most viable idea of out the three ideas because it would be the most cost-effective and successful in raising awareness among Singaporeans. One disadvantage of this idea would be a lack of subscribers on CWS’s YouTube channel. CWS currently only has 143 subscribers on their channel, which may not be sufficient in getting the video viral. However, since videos usually appeal to Singaporeans and have a more lasting impact, the video may still reach a large number of views and also help CWS gain more subscribers on their YouTube channel. According to a research study, 80% of users recall a video ad they have viewed in the past 30 days (Austin). This shows that creating an impactful video can drastically help generate awareness for the issue raised in the video, such as cat overpopulation. The video will also be able to have a wide audience reach as it is spread on social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram. According to statistics, it is found that visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content. It is also estimated that 3.93 million social media users will be in Singapore in 2022, up from 3.46 million in 2016 (Hainla). As social media will be utilised to spread the video, it will most likely be able to reach a great number of Singaporeans. This would mean with the video posted on social media, there are higher chances it would continue being shared among Singaporeans and more awareness would be spread. Filming the video would also require little or no costs at all as it would be filmed by CWS’s own committee.
The second idea of an interactive advertising campaign is not ideal due to higher production costs and ineffectiveness when it comes to getting Singaporeans to participate. An advantage of the campaign is that it would likely reach many Singaporeans through public places and the use of social media. According to a 2017 survey report, 7 in 10 Singaporeans use social media on mobile, doubling the global average (Tan). This shows that social media is a great way to reach Singaporeans and bring awareness of issues. The use of paw print decals in public areas would also likely catch the attention of Singaporeans and entice them to see the ads in order to scan the QR codes. Despite these however, a great amount of planning and cost is required for this campaign to work. High cost is required in order to utilise public locations to create the paw print floor decals as well as provide e-vouchers and prizes to be won. Printing and lamination of the educational and advertisement posters would be costly as well. Sponsorship from Pet Lovers Centre is also necessary to obtain the 6-month supply prize for the social media contest and a lot of liaising is involved.
Lastly, the third idea of having the “Adopt a Better You” themed adoption drive may not be ideal or viable as it lacks in effectiveness in addressing cat overpopulation and adoptions may be seen unsuccessful. The adoption drive may be effective in gaining publicity through social media advertisements and sponsorship support from companies. However, since it does not directly raise awareness about cat overpopulation, it would not the best option. The adoption drive may not garner enough adoptions to reach its goal as past adoption drives from CWS has been seen to be unsuccessful. The most recent adoption drive CWS has organised was partnered with Pet Lovers Centre. However, according to their Facebook page, only 4 people went to the event and only 15 people were interested. In another adoption drive by CWS in 2015 called “Paws & Furs 2015 Adoption Drive”, only 18 people responded on Facebook that they attended the event (“Cat Welfare Society”). The issue of cat overpopulation may not be effectively addressed and people may not be interested. Due to the crowd and noise during the event, Singaporeans may not pay much attention to the speaker addressing the issue. It will be highly difficult to gain the attention of Singaporeans and to get them to listen during the event itself.
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