Direct Mail Campaign Combats Doggie Poop


We’ve heard it said that direct mail is not very effective. While it is true that a direct mail sent to the wrong person is just ‘junk mail’ there are other examples of extremely effective direct mail campaigns. By using direct mail, companies (and other organizations) make a direct one-to-one contact with a target market. When correctly targeted with the right message to the right audience, a direct marketing campaign can be a powerful tool.

Case in point: Combatting a rise of doggie poop in the town of Burnete, Spain, on the outskirts of Madrid. Doggie poop? Yes, you read this correctly. The town Burnete had seen an increase in unwanted dog mess. They had combatted it with clever, broad campaigns in the public such as motorized – and plasticized – dog poop (you have to see it), but after a while, the effectiveness decreased. What to do next? A direct mail campaign aimed right at the offending dog owners was developed by agency McCann Madrid.

With a limited budget to fight the growing mound of – well, you know what was growing – 20 volunteers patrolled the streets watching for offending dogs and owners. Politely asking the dog’s name, then matching the name with the town’s database, owners received hand-deliveries of special packages containing their pet’s poop. The end result was an estimated 70% reduction in the amount of doggie poop on the streets of Brunete.

Watch this creative campaign and consider how direct mail can be used to implement public service campaigns.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1.  Show the video:
  2. How does the direct marketing approach contrast with broader PSA campaigns?
  3. What was effective with this campaign?
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a PSA type of campaign. (Ex: responsible drinking, smoking, seat belts, litter, etc.)
  5. Have each team develop a direct marketing campaign for their selected PSA.
  6. What are the key messages? Target market? Packaging for mail campaign?

Source:, 6/7/13

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