Bayer ‘@DangerousSnail has a secret’/ The Red Consultancy
Instagram has become a huge hit with youngsters. The ability to follow the lives of their favourite celebrities is one of the perks of the platforms. But over the past couple of months an unusual Instagrammer has been giving popstars, footballers, models and reality TV stars a run for their money. Cutting through the selfies, fitness motivation posts and influencer brand ads, a lone creature tried to slowly build up its profile. With a particular focus on dog lovers who use Instagram to share pictures of their pets, the mysterious creature enticed in followers by holding back on revealing a particular secret…
@DangerousSnail25 came on to the scene on 10 April, introducing itself to the world of Instagram with a classic selfie and a cheeky introduction. The friendly mollusc’s first post was adorned with a series of dog-related hashtags with the aim to gather followers from the popular #dogsofinstagram crowd. Users began to wonder what @DangerousSnail25 was all about.
Over a two-month period @DangerousSnail25 posted various photos of itself in different locations, sometimes accompanied by its friend the slug, sometimes with people and sometimes nearby dogs. The snail even teamed up with broadcaster and wildlife lover Ben Fogle to help its secret campaign gain traction. @DangerousSnail25 built up a following of nearly 3,000 by becoming a lovable character, posting about topical events such as the London Marathon, St George’s Day and Bank Holidays, whilst injecting both humour and education into people’s Instagram feeds through slug-related jokes and facts.
After gaining popularity on the social media site through its cute and unusual pictures and humorous posts, @DangerousSnail25 decided it was time to reveal its secret. On 9 May Instagram’s cheery gastropod unveiled that it, in fact, carries the lungworm larvae, a parasite that can be potentially deadly to dogs. The revelation post pointed viewers to a lungworm information site and encouraged them to make use of the #ActAgainstLungworm hashtag on social media and to tag their dog-loving friends in @DangerousSnail25’s post. @DangerousSnail25 was in fact the brainchild of Red Consultancy, the agency employed by Bayer - manufacturer of parasite protection solution Advocate - to raise awareness of the dangers of Lungworm to man’s best friend.
After the secret was out, the account continued to post valuable information and prevention tips about how owners can protect their dogs from lungworm. @DangerousSnail25 also interacted with other Instagram users, answering questions on the disease all while keeping up its cute and positive persona. The snail’s chosen name also came to light as the ‘25’ references the 25 varieties of slugs and snails that carry the lungworm larvae.
The Instagram work gathered lots of attention from dog lovers, with @DangerousSnail25 being tagged in popular dedicated dog Instagram profiles. It even caught the attention of some celebrities including TV presenter Ashley James and socialite Donna Air. The account received over 100,000 likes and comments and a video revealing what the account was all about acquired over 200,000 views. Additionally, vets across the country reported being approached by pet-owners directly asking about the campaign.
The work is commendable as, not only does it raise awareness of the dangers of lungworm to dogs, but in the process it refrains from demonising snails. Witty posts made the snails charming and likeable, whilst still informing viewers that there was more to them than meets the eye.
By taking inspiration from the rise of ‘social petworking’ the Red Consultancy and Bayer have produced a successful campaign which reaches pet owners with the right information in the relevant place, whilst also adding an element of fun into what could have been presented as a sad or fearmongering campaign. Planning and buying for the campaign was handled by Mediacom.