A pop-up to help ticks find a ‘furever’ home

Sure, your dog could just pick up a tick the normal way, by brushing up against grass or shrubs. But Elanco Canada wanted to make things easier by introducing the world’s first Tick Adoption Centre in Toronto.

The maker of flea and tick treatment K9 Advantix II worked with McCann Canada and Nordest Studio to create the branded pop-up in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood, promoting it as a way to connect the city’s dog owners with “emotional support ticks,” though in reality the key goal was to  challenge a common misconception among urban dog owners that ticks are only found in rural areas.

The creative idea behind the Mother’s Day weekend campaign was that if you don’t use K9 Advantix II for your dog, you might as well adopt a tick.

The accompanying advertising included out-of-home ads featuring an image with a tick atop a dog’s nose, and the message”Who wants an eight-legged hug?” McCann also posted an urban ticks adoption ad on online classified sites. The campaign includes a TickAdoption.ca website, digital, PR, influencer relations, and collateral material for pet retailers.

The stunt was a play on the pet adoption craze that sprang up during Covid, said McCann Canada’s senior strategist, Jeremy Singer.

The branded store also enabled visitors to get up close and personal with ticks like “Jellybean,” a glass-enclosed tick who, visitors were informed, is “small and sweet. With eight little feet.” A QR code directed visitors to the nearest K9 Advantix II retailer in their neighbourhood.

“Ticks are spreading at an alarming rate—we’re finding them in yards, along trails and in parks where we haven’t seen them before,” said Sharon Rowe, director, pet health alternative channels and innovation, with Elanco Canada. “The tick adoption centre draws attention to this serious issue in a fun, yet informative way. If you don’t protect your dog with a tick product like K9 Advantix II then you’re putting your dog at risk of unknowingly adopting a tick.”

Golin provided PR and influencer relations for the campaign.

Chris Powell