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Animal Planet Sponsors Help Renovate Shelters

Sponsors of Animal Planet’s two-part special Pet Nation Renovation are helping to rebuild non-profit pet shelters.

Two of the advertisers, Delta Faucet and Ace Hardware, are integrated into the program, providing more than $100,000 of cash, labor and materials used to make over the shelters. Experts from those companies describe how their products will help the shelter make both people and animals more comfortable during the show.

Part 1 of Pet Nation Renovation premieres Sept. 17 at 10 p.m. Part 2 is scheduled for the fourth quarter.

Advertisers are flocking to opportunities to become part of shows, in addition to running commercials.

“As consumer viewing habits have changed, whether it’s on television or across digital platforms, clients are looking for ways to be closer to the content so it’s more evergreen. You can’t skip through it. You have people watching the shows so these opportunities are in demand,” said Scott Kohn, group senior VP of ad sales at Discovery Communications, parent of Animal Planet.

“This was an opportunity to partner with clients who already support Animal Planet and showcase their brands in an organic way that makes them a hero in what this story is about,” Kohn said.

The advertisers sponsored an online effort to identify shelters in need of a renovation. The first winner was BARK (which stands for Bandit’s Adoption and Rescue of K-9s) in Ashland Va., which has rescued more than 4,500 dogs over 10 years.

Ace provided lighting and paint supplies. Delta provided a dog-washing station, as well as fixtures to repair a bathroom for humans. New kennels were built for the rescued animals.

Missi Tate, senior brand manager at Delta Faucet, said her company wanted to create an emotional connection with consumers and create a partnership with the network that is more than just airing spots.

“A lot of people love pets,” she said. “Clearly Animal Planet gives you all those warm and fuzzies.”

This sponsorship takes it to the next level, Tate said. “We felt our products fit really well within shelters, so it was a great integration.”

Media agency Mediavest/Spark, which  works for both Delta and Ace, brought the program to both clients and executed the sponsorship.

When it does integrations, Delta prefers to get an expert into the show to talk about its products and how they’ll help. In Pet Nation Renovation, that expert is Leah Schubert, a product manager.

“We like to send our own people because we know they’re passionate about the products they develop. They’re the best people to talk about our products,” Tate said. “She was super excited because she loves animals. She volunteers at a shelter here in Indianapolis. It was a double win for Leah."

Tate says she doesn’t expect to see a quick uptick in sales from this sponsorship. Delta does want to see an increase in brand awareness and get a bit of a pop from a public relations and social media perspective.

She said she couldn’t say how much the sponsorship cost because it was part of Delta’s larger upfront advertising deal with Discovery.

In addition to appearing in the show, the sponsors were featured in call-to-action ads during the nomination and voting phases of selecting the winning shelters, said Jason Goldberg, VP of client & brand partnerships at Discovery. They will be part of tune-in spots for the show, and Discovery is creating social shorts that will run on Facebook and Twitter.

“At Ace, we strive to be the most helpful hardware store on the planet for our customers and in the communities we serve,” said Teresa Celmer, brand director at Ace Hardware. “Just like pets are a part of families, Ace is a part of their community so we couldn’t think of a better and more fun way to demonstrate those values in action than our support of the pet shelter makeovers on Pet Nation Renovation.”

In the special, after the renovation, BARK holds an adoption event in its new digs, featuring celebrity dog groomer Jorge Bendersky and animal adoption expert Jill Rappaport.

The second episode shows the renovation of Michigan Animal Rescue League in Pontiac, Mich. That episode is sponsored by Quicken Loans, in addition to Ace and Delta.

Pet Nation Renovation is hosted by animal expert and home renovation enthusiast Dave Salmoni. The show is produced by All3Media America for Animal Planet.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.