Colenso BBDO 66 Dogphonics

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Directors
    Simon Vicars (CCO), Levi Slavin, Maria Devereux, Dan Wright
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Director
    Dave Brady (Group CD and Head of Design)
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Charlie Godinet (Senior Art Director), Rob Graves (Senior Copywriter), Will McDonald (Copywriter), Adam Ramsdale (Art Director), Ahmad Salim (Group Business Director), Nico Ainsworth (Group Business Director), Arameh Bozorgi (Senior Programme Director), Jane Cathcart (Programme Director), James Baker (Senior Project Manager), Scott Chapman (Head of Integrated Production), Natalie Poole (Producer), Emma Tait (Strategist), Teresa Luckman (CX Strategist), Tia Somers (Mac Op), Olivia Duthie (Print Production Producer), Peter Krann (Sound Design), Fernando Hart (DOP), Dr. Emma Woodward (Child, Educational & Community Psychologist)
  • Client
    Fabio Alings - Global Brand Director, Pedigree

The fear of reading aloud and failing is proven to inhibit literacy amongst children. Over the last 4 years, the number of children reading for pleasure has declined by 10%, with home learning resulting in a decrease in practice reading aloud and confidence.

Pedigree’s brand purpose is to ‘feed the good’ dogs bring to the world. A study co-created by Pedigree and The Waltham Petcare Science Institute proved that dogs bring out the best in humans, discovering that having a dog as a listener can improve a child’s sense of confidence, moderate feelings of anxiety, and provide support.

The brief was to create a reading programme with dogs at the heart of it. Our objective was to remove any academic-system where kids would feel any pressure to achieve, and instead, let them experience the joy of reading with someone who‘s extremely patient, full of love and never judgemental. A dog.

In partnership with Professor Nancy Gee, author of ‘The Child Animal Bond’, and Educational Psychologist Dr Emma Woodward, Pedigree has developed a reading programme called Dogphonics. Its aim: to help boost the confidence and literacy of children.

The programme was developed for struggling young readers, and co-created with teachers to ensure the language conformed with global teaching standards.

The Dogphonics programme avoids academic grading systems, levels, or stories overtly about education. To increase motivation and foster the sense of joy that reading stories can bring, it’s up to the kids to take control and choose the title they think their dog would enjoy most. Our struggling readers can go at their own leisure and pace.

The Dogphonics books needed to be both visually interesting for kids and a tonal match for the entertaining stories. We wanted the illustrations to be lovingly handcrafted and full of character to really bring the stories to life. Bitemarks were added to the box instead of the usual cut-out finger holes to add another layer of charm. Working with child educational experts, the hand drawn style was also taken to typography and copy with careful attention to legibility, letterform and alignment to ensure maximum readability and connection to the illustrations.

The Pedigree Dogphonics reading programme launched in New Zealand, on the 1st April 2022, with in-school sessions featuring Dr Emma Woodward, social media, and ads directing people to bookstores or Amazon Books.

The Pedigree Dogphonics ‘kid-to-canine’ reading programme effectively commented on the fear of learning to read, while further cementing Pedigree’s ‘feed the good’ brand platform. So far, its total gained reach is 1,037,969 and 93% of books sold in the first 2 weeks.

94% of kids surveyed completed the programme. 88% of kids had an increase in reading confidence. Since launching in New Zealand, Dogphonics is now available worldwide on Amazon Kindle and rolling out across North America.

The book-set has become an effective catalyst for good conversations about how we can raise confident young readers. Proceeds from book sales go towards rehoming more of our four-legged teachers.