The aim of "Dog Fixers" was to create unique and engaging short form content for Channel 4 Online. Their 5-year digital strategy, Future4, sets out ambitious goals of doubling viewing figures on their online platforms. As part of this strategy, the broadcaster is aiming to build traction and engagement with a younger-skewing audience. With this in mind, our objective was to create a unique piece of content with dogs at its heart. The topic has universal appeal whilst the content has been formatted in a way that would skew towards a younger audience, which satisfies Channel 4's objectives for Online. The format features disabled dogs being given a new lease of life with a bespoke pimped up wheelchair.
We filmed "Dog Fixers" in a real life animal sanctuary but set-dressed in order to create a colourful and dynamic backdrop for filming of the dogs and key cast (owner, vet, wheelchair fitter). We ensured the content was vibrant and colourful to be eye-catching amongst a sea of content on Facebook & Instagram. Content was also prepared for Youtube, TikTok and Snapchat but these versions have not gone live yet. Each version was tailor-made for the relevant platform, to ensure maximum effectiveness. An example of this was the TikTok version contained punchy subtitling on the screen, all formatted to work within the TikTok safe area. Youtube on the other hand, was the longest version we created, to match the platform's longer form content (average 12 mins). Each short film focused on one dog and their owner receiving help at the Dog Fixers Hub so we could focus on one story from start to finish, and maintain truly short-form integrity. This allowed each standalone episode to be more shareable. Lastly, we filmed the series with multicam but with lots of close-up shots to make sure this was phone viewer friendly. Our storytelling strategy was geared around being highly impactful and transformational, to follow a strong story arc, which makes it highly engaging and most likely to be shared and go viral.
We created 4x Dog Fixer episodes, with 5x versions of each: for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube and Snapchat. All 4x episodes were dropped on a weekly basis on Facebook and Instagram across the Christmas 2021 period, with the final episode dropping on New Years Day 2022. The versions for TikTok, Snapchat and Youtube have not yet been released. Collectively, the 4x episodes dropped on Facebook saw 250,000+ views and 400+ shares. Comments were also 200+ across the 4x episodes, which shows very positive engagement. Many commenters were sharing their own experiences with dogs or pets that had experienced trauma or disease leading to disability, meaning the content engaged the viewership beyond just being entertaining but on a deeper level too, which will have longer lasting impact and recognisability should this content return again. With three of the versions yet to be released across TikTok, Youtube and Snapchat, Channel 4 will see a revival in views and engagement in this topic, giving them a second bite of the cherry with this piece of content.