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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

Better Paws for Brutus

Entered in Integrated Campaign


Brutus, a two-year-old Rottweiler who lost his paws to an at-home amputation, was a client success story that came to the CSU social media team's attention through a post to the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital's Facebook page. Our goal was to help Brutus get adopted by a forever family through social media and traditional media.

The Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital is committed to helping animals, and, through research, helping both animals and humans.

A constant communications goal for the hospital is to share client success stories through both traditional media and social media channels to enhance the hospital's reputation to attract both potential clients and prospective veterinary students. The client stories also showcase the innovative research happening at the university in various areas, including cancer, infectious disease, sports rehabilitation and physical therapy. This, in turn, re-enforces the veterinary program's national ranking as third best veterinary program in the nation.

In addition to finding Brutus a forever home, our goal was also to raise awareness of our client success stories.

Strategy and Execution

Brutus was born to a breeder who left him in freezing temperatures as a puppy, causing Brutus to develop frostbite in all four paws. The breeder attempted to perform an at-home amputation on the puppy, leaving Brutus maimed for life.

Brutus' foster mom took him to Orthopets—an animal prosthetics developer in Colorado—where he was fitted for prosthetic paws for each foot, making him only the second dog ever to wear prosthetics on all four paws. He then began receiving physical therapy at CSU's veterinary hospital to relearn how to walk.

After learning about Brutus on Facebook, CSU's social media team immediately recognized the story as having potential to go viral on social media. The team collaborated with the hospital and CSU's public relations team to write a full story about Brutus. The story, which included professional photos and b-roll video for news outlets to utilize in their own stories, appeared on CSU's news website, Source.

The social media team shared the story on all CSU social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat. The team also strategically pitched the story to various influential Twitter accounts, including animal blogs, animal organizations, and local and national news outlets.

The CSU public relations team pitched the story to traditional media, both local and national.

The Vine video showed Brutus walking in his prosthetics, which the team tweeted for other organizations to use on their Twitter accounts. The video used on Facebook was a longer version of the Vine video and was optimized for CSU's Facebook audience, but was shorter than a traditional news video.

By creating separate visual content for social media and traditional media, external social media channels were able to reuse CSU's content (the Vine video) that worked best for their various social media channels, and traditional news media was able to use high-quality video and professional photos for their websites.


Brutus' story became CSU's most widely publicized and viewed story. Ever. The story was publicized in all fifty states and across the world, helping the CSU team achieve their goal of showcasing innovative research and client success stories through the millions of story views on the Internet and social media.

On social media alone, the story was featured on the Facebook pages of TIME, Good Morning America, I Fucking Love Science, USA Today and Buzzfeed Animals.

On Twitter, ABC News, Discover Magazine, World News Tonight and even TOMS shared the Brutus news.

Brutus even trended on Facebook, along with Kourtney Kardashian's new baby.

CSU's Vine video was embedded into stories, including Mashable's story, and now has more than 400,000 loops (and counting).

On Colorado State University's social media pages, the accumulated posts, tweets, pictures, Vines and Snaps reached almost a million viewers. The story reached more than 84 million people on external Facebook, Twitter and Vine accounts.

A total of 319 million more people across the world were reached on news websites, in print and on television that included ABC World News Tonight, the New York Times, the Associated Press, USA Today, Huffington Post, Yahoo and Daily News.

The publicity also helped raise an additional $3,000 for Brutus' GoFundMe page.

The best result? Brutus was adopted and found his forever home.


Video for Better Paws for Brutus

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Colorado State University


Entry Credits