Battersea created a genuinely strategic campaign and the judges were impressed by their evidenced-based approach. They demonstrated that they were responsive to the changing political climate by making adjustments to the campaign as circumstances dictated. However, they never lost sight of the campaign’s overriding objective and the roles and responsibilities of individual members of the team. The judges were also struck by the way in which they were constantly learning and evaluating to inform their next steps, as well as the degree of integration they managed to achieve across stakeholder engagement which ultimately led to important policy commitments from governments across the UK.


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Winner entry:

Brief and objectives:

The focus of our campaign was to persuade all UK Governments to legislate for five-year sentences on animal cruelty. With one simple campaign ask, to raise sentences from six months to five years, we called on the public to start talking to their MPs on the issue and pushing for change, accessing them through conventional and social media as well as using celebrity  endorsement to promote our goals.

Our original objectives included:

  • 100 MPs pledging their support for Battersea’s campaign
  • 25,000 members of the public emailing their local politician.
  • At least 5 pieces of national, broadcast and online coverage mentioning Battersea in relation to animal cruelty sentencing upon launch

Rationale behind campaign, including research and planning:

Our objective was to take a heart-breaking issue that we see at our centres, animal cruelty, and look to tackle one of its main drivers, namely the weak prison sentences given to perpetrators. The campaign has been rooted in evidence, which we compiled into a report, entitled “Sentencing for Animal Cruelty in England and Wales”. This centred on refuting the previous Government reasons for inaction, and our arguments are now regularly being repeated by politicians and other animal welfare organisations.

We highlighted the following:

  • England and Wales have the lowest animal cruelty sentence across any of 100 jurisdictions we surveyed
  • Many non-violent crimes such as fly tipping carry a five-year sentence, so the sentence for animal cruelty is disproportionately low
  • The maximum sentence is being used; yet is neither a punishment not a deterrent. In August we published a Scottish report on similar lines, which put the campaign ask firmly on the radar of Scottish politicians and Government.

Strategy and tactics, including creativity and innovation:

We used political, press and public pressure to persuade Governments to act.#

The campaign has had 3 main phases, each targeted new audiences.

Feb – Mar 2017:

Parliamentary phase – The first phase was where we concentrated the major media and parliamentary activity, based around a launch in Westminster and our own research. We timed our launch to coincide with a Private Members Bill calling for five year cruelty sentences, and we worked alongside its sponsor Anna Turley MP on media opportunities.

Mar – June 2017:

Public phase – We wanted to show both the “real world” impact of the issue, and yet create a non-exploitative campaign concept that resonated with the public. This is why we adopted the stand-up comedy, “animal cruelty sentences are a joke – they’re not funny” concept, reflected in imagery and the hashtag #NotFunny. The website blends the two – a mixture of real animal case studies with the colours and themes of the creative concept.

June 2017:

Celebrity phase – The next phase, launched in June, harnessed our celebrity supporters. In keeping with the campaign theme of “#NotFunny” and stand-up comedy, the 5 celebrities used were household-name comedians, each of which provided quotes and a consistent image that replaced the initial creative on posters, online ads and the website. This required flexibility and sensitivity, as the original launch date for this phase had to be postponed to work around the election, and it brought a sharp uptake in the public and media interest, leading to more MPs and tentative support from Government.

Implementation of tactics:

Each different phase of the campaign has required different tools and materials:


  • Oct 16 – Party conference event introducing issue and evidence gathering begins
  • Nov 17 – Campaign plan shared internally, working group formed

Parl Phase:

  • 20/2/17 – Parliamentary launch – research released
  • 20/2/17 – Media launch – front page of Metro, all major news outlets incl Sky, BBC and ITV News carried campaign
  • 20/2/17 – First supporters email MPs using template emails on website

Public Phase:

  • 27/3/17 – Campaign website and “#NotFunny” concept released
  • 27/3/17 – Campaign video and first outdoor media at transport intersections
  • Easter 17 – Online paid advertising rolled out across UK
  • 17/5/17 – General Election Manifesto published and sent to candidates UK-wide

Celebrity Phase:

  • 26/6/17 – Celebrity launch with 5 comedians
  • 26/6/17 – Online ads changed to celebrities, Twibbons, website etc changed to reflect celebrity involvement

Scottish Phase:

  • 28/8/17 – “Animal Cruelty Sentencing in Scotland” report released
  • 7/9/17 – Scottish Government announced support for five-year sentences
  • 30/9/17 – UK Government commits to five-year sentences, using Battersea quote in press release
  • 11/12/17 – Environment Secretary launches “Draft Animal Welfare Bill” at Battersea, using Battersea quotes and spokesperson.

Measurement and evaluation:

These have far exceeded our expectation, and this has been by far the biggest campaign Battersea has ever run in terms of impact.

  • Over 61,000 people emailing their MP with every MP receiving at least 1 email about the campaign from a constituent (more than double our last campaign)
  • Over 7 million digital impressions of the campaign
  • Manifesto endorsement at 2017 General Election from Labour, UKIP and Lib Dem parties.
  • In their Animal Welfare Plan, released in February 2018, the Labour Party reiterated their commitment to supporting tougher sentencing for animal cruelty.
  • Government endorsed the campaign ask October 2017, and published a Draft Bill at Battersea in December 2017 covering England and Wales
  • Scottish Government pledging to legislate for five-year maximum sentence in 2017/18 Programme for Government
  • 245 pieces of media coverage for the campaign launch – 114 broadcast pieces, 11 national print articles and 84 features online.
  • 2 front pages (Metro, Daily Express), as well as the issue featuring on the front page of the Daily Mail.
  • We achieved interviews with key spokespeople on at least five separate occasions, including BBC Breakfast, STV and Sky News.

Various methods of measurement have been used to ensure effectiveness – from web-mounted tickers showing emails sent to politicians and MP / MSP supporters, to dashboard measuring online effectiveness of different media.

Budget and cost effectiveness:

Given all content, photography, design and celebrity engagement were done in-house, this was very cost-effective; achieving striking creative alongside messaging that resonated with all 3 principal audiences – political, public and media – and delivered significant policy wins.

The campaign has cost around £90,000, mainly on outdoor advertising (£60,000). Our media partner was so keen to work with us that they gave us an almost 60% cost reduction for using their boards.

Other spend: £15,000 – online advertising, £9,000 – campaign video, £4,000 – Parliamentary launch