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Advertise Those Dogs

A captivating ad campaign merges with a charitable initiative.



ESTABLISHED IN 1910, family-owned TIVOL was founded in downtown Kansas City, MO, by immigrant Charles Tivol. The company now has three locations in the area. In the fourth quarter of 2013, TIVOL launched a print, TV and digital ad campaign that asserted, “TIVOL Has Gone to the Dogs,” a campaign that continued in 2014.

the IDEA

The campaign presents beautifully photographed homeless pups taken in by KC Pet Project, a local no-kill animal rescue.

“It happened very naturally,” says TIVOL Director of Marketing Adam Gebhardt. “This company has always been extremely dog-friendly and has a long history of injecting humor into our ads. I had been trying to brainstorm an idea for a campaign when (owner) Cathy Tivol’s dog sauntered in and it just kind of hit me.”


The black-and-white images of the canines are accompanied by colorful images of jewelry and timepieces, and witty headlines such as “Check out these puppies,” “Think we’re stuffy? Oh, just relax,” and “Something to Wag About,” among others. Each ad includes a caption that promotes the animal shelter and, when possible, the pet’s name and its adoption status.


The full-day photo shoots have been a lot of fun, Gebhardt, says, even though they are highly unpredictable. “We went in with a few specific ideas of what we wanted to get, but at the same time you couldn’t really plan for what the dogs would look like and what their personalities would be. We built a lot of the ads around the dog rather than having the ad in mind and making the dog fit the ad.”

To further support the campaign, TIVOL designed sterling silver doggie tags that it sells for $79. The tags, which feature a single diamond, are branded with the TIVOL logo and can be customized with the pet’s first name and a phone number at no additional charge. With the sale of each tag, $20 is given to the KC Pet Project.

KC Pet Project is the third largest open-admission shelter in the United States to achieve no-kill status, and in 2014 it will care for nearly 10,000 pets. The organization never turns away an animal in need, including those that arrive with severe injuries, are ill or are in need of medical attention.

“KC Pet Project is so honored and excited about this opportunity to partner with such a wonderful company with a sterling reputation in our community,” says Teresa Johnson, CEO/Executive Director & Chief Lifesaving Officer of KC Pet Project. “Proceeds from the sales of these beautiful dog tags will go toward the medical care of more than 9,000 pets that will come into our shelter this year. When you purchase one for your pet, or yourself, you are helping us save lives in our community.”

Adds Gebhardt: “We’re getting wonderful feedback from our customers and the community as a whole.”



“The doggie tags have an approachable price point and they give customers a fun reason to come into the store,” says Cathy Tivol. “More importantly, people love the charitable aspect of this campaign. It offers us another way to give back to our community — and along the way help dogs, which are near and dear to everyone’s hearts at TIVOL.”

The campaign is accompanied by striking in-store visuals that draw people in off the street, too.

The KC Pet Project is “over the moon” with the visibility as well as the doggie-tag donations. TIVOL provided the organization with large-format posters of the ads, which are displayed at the shelter’s entrance, and viewed by cross-sections of the population as well as shelter donors. “It re-emphasizes the work we’re doing in the community,” Gebhardt says.

Do It Yourself

“One of the things that makes this campaign so special is it promotes us first and foremost, and also helps a community cause. Think beyond promoting your own business and remember how important partnerships can be in helping you build your brand,” Gebhardt says.

  • Consider designing a special piece of jewelry to draw attention to a philanthropic effort.
  • Remember to follow through next time a creative, off-the-wall idea pops into your head!
  • Recognize the importance of professional photography in promoting your business, whether it’s of products you’re promoting on your website or a full advertising campaign.

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